Tshegofatso Phala – Executive Director
“Tshego” is an accomplished public interest lawyer with over 10 years’ experience in public interest litigation. Holding a Bachelor of Arts and LLB degree from the University of Witwatersrand, Tshego practised as an attorney in the Pro Bono Department at Webber Wentzel Attorneys between 2011 and 2016 and was appointed as a partner in 2017.
Keen to embed herself in movement lawyering, she joined the Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa (ISLA) in February 2019 leading their Sexual Rights Litigation in Africa. She is also a 2020/21 Fellow of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for young African leaders and is currently the Chairperson of the board of the National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities in South Africa.
In the course of her practice, Tshego was part of a number of landmark cases that advanced the rule of law and constitutional democracy in South Africa, as well as the protection and advancement of the rights of LGBTQI persons (with particular focus on LGBTQI youth, transgender and intersex persons).
Tshego has a passion for human rights and the protection of vulnerable and marginalised persons and communities in society. She believes that movement-led lawyering and community lawyering can contribute positively to bringing about social change and the legal empowerment of marginalised voices.”
Robyn Beere – Deputy Director
Robyn was the Director of Inclusive Education South Africa (IESA) for eight and a half years. During her time with IESA she built up the organisation to become a leading civil society voice promoting the right to meaningful access to participation in learning for all children in South Africa. She has written extensively and developed a range of educational resources to be used in pre-service and in-service teaching training on inclusive pedagogy. Robyn has presented at numerous conferences and been invited to participate in regional expert meetings to discuss the protection of disability rights in an African context.
With an LLB and Hons Degree in Political Science, Robyn now works as an advocate for the effective implementation of inclusive education policy. She is also the Chairperson of the Right to Education for Children with Disabilities Alliance. Robyn led the development of an alternative report and submissions to the UN Committee on the CRPD and a delegation to the UN in March 2018. She has been instrumental in co-ordinating the Alliance efforts to ensure government accountability for the implementation of the Convention and other regional and national legislative and policy frameworks.
Chandre Stuurman – Senior Attorney
Bertha Justice Alumna
Bertha Justice Alumna
Chandre obtained her BA (Law) degree from Stellenbosch University in 2009, and completed her post-graduate LLB degree in 2011 at the same university. In 2011, Chandre was a student researcher in the South African Property Law Research Chair headed by Professor AJ van der Walt, focusing on Constitutional Property Law, and in particular Section 25 of the Constitution. In addition, she was involved in the Financial Literacy Project of the University’s Legal Aid Clinic.
Chandre completed her training at Shepstone & Wylie, Cape Town, 2012 to 2014, where she worked in, among others, in the Corporate & Commercial as well as the International Transport, Trade & Energy, Departments. Chandre was admitted and enrolled as an attorney in the Western Cape High Court and has obtained Right of Appearance in the Western Cape High Court, in May and October 2014, respectively.
Chandre joined the EELC in 2014 and is a passionate social justice lawyer with a drive to use the law as a tool for social justice and for equality in education. Chandre is particularly interested in the advancement of the rights of children with disabilities, and who are experiencing barriers to learning, and focuses her practice on ensuring that their right to an equitable and quality inclusive education system, is realized.
Tarryn Cooper-Bell – Senior Attorney
Tarryn obtained both her Bachelor of Science degree as well as her LLB from Rhodes University. She thereafter completed her training as a candidate attorney at the Rhodes University Law Clinic where she was involved in general litigation and various other access to justice programmes.
After her admission in 2012 she was employed as an associate at the Boksburg based law firm of Malherbe, Rigg & Ranwell Attorneys where she specialised in municipal law. The call towards human rights and social justice however inspired her return to the Rhodes University Law Clinic as an attorney in charge of the advice office programme in early 2014 where she furthered the Law Clinic’s work in the human rights field.
She thereafter progressed through the ranks to head of legal services for the Grahamstown office and member of the Rhodes University Law Clinic management committee. As an attorney at the Law Clinic, Tarryn was involved in general litigation, LLB student supervision and lecturing of various modules in the LLB Legal Practice course.
Tarryn joined the EELC in April 2017 to contribute towards the fight for social justice and equal, quality education for all on a national level.
Anjuli Maistry – Senior Attorney
Anjuli joins the EELC as a senior attorney. Prior to this she worked at the Centre for Child Law (CCL) and Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR). At CCL, where she worked for four years, she focused on litigation, having worked on a variety of cases related to children’s access to socio-economic rights, including their access to basic and higher education as well as birth registration. At LHR, where she worked for five years, she managed the Johannesburg law clinic, and focused on litigation related to refugee and migrants’ rights. In 2020 she obtained her LLM in children’s rights (with a specific focus on access to education for learners with disabilities) at the University of Pretoria.
Pila-sande Mkuzo – Junior Attorney
Bertha Justice Alumna
Bertha Justice Alumna
Pila-sande is from East London in the Eastern Cape. She completed her Bachelor of Laws degree at the University of Fort Hare in 2017. She was awarded the Canon Collins Leigh-Day Scholarship and in 2018 received the Dean of Research Exceptional Achievement Award.
Pila-sande has been active in social justice work, including forming part of the steering committee of the East London #TheTotalShutdown and the HIV Policy Conference. As a student, she served as the Secretary of the Indlovukazi Women Empowerment Society and she is currently the chairperson of Passionate Unlimited Peers in Action (PUPA) based in the Eastern Cape. She has also served under the Eastern Cape Aids Council Women’s Sector and the NACOSA Provincial Advisory Committee. Pila-Sande completed her articles at the EELC as a Bertha Justice Fellow
Yasmina Shabodien – Finance Administrator
Yasmina Shabodien joined the EELC in March 2019 in the role of Office Administrator. Yasmina is from Cape Town and has worked in the non-profit sector for over twenty years in an administrative capacity. Prior to joining the EELC, she has worked for Kagiso Trust, Impumelelo Social Innovations Programme and Black Sash. Her portfolio includes financial administration, events management and office administration amongst others. Working for these various organisations has strengthened her commitment and passion to improve social development, social justice and equality within marginalised communities.
Ebrahiem Daniels – Trainee Attorney
Ebrahiem joined the EELC as a candidate attorney. He holds an LLB (Cum Laude) from the University of the Western Cape where he belonged to various societies, amongst which are the Students for Law and Social Justice, Chamber of Legal Students, and the Top Achievers Programme as a mentor. His passion for human rights started in high school where he was a member of the Representative Council for Learners for 2 consecutive years.
Yolisa Piliso – 2nd Year Candidate Attorney
Yolisa joined the EELC as an intern. Yolisa was awarded a Canon Collins / Joel Joffe 4th year scholarship in 2020 which includes a 5 month internship at the EELC in 2021. Yolisa holds an LLB from the University of the Western Cape. In 2022 he was selected from amongst many applications received by the EELC office to join as a 1st year Candidate Attorney.
Malixole Sikhungo- 1st Year Candidate Attorney
Malixole holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of South Africa. Having spent time as a paralegal, Malixole went on to advocate for the rights of vulnerable and marginalized communities. He considers himself an ‘advocate’ for social justice and his heartfelt passion for the protection of the rights of the ‘ignored’ – particularly homeless individuals originates from his own lived experience. Malixole used the media to raise awareness of the challenges faced by homeless people, to shift misconceptions and to propose solutions to the homelessness crisis. Malixole joins the EELC as a candidate attorney through the Bertha Justice fellowship programme.
Daniel Peter Al-Naddaf- 1st Year Candidate Attorney
Daniel joins the EELC as a Candidate Attorney through the Bertha Justice Fellowship programme. He holds a BCom and LLB (cum laude) from the University of the Witwatersrand, and an LLM in Public International Law (cum laude) from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Prior to joining the EELC, Daniel was the Regional Safeguarding Officer for Southern Africa at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Daniel is especially passionate about education equality for neurodiverse, refugee, asylum-seeker and LGBT+ learners.
Tatiana Kazim – Legal Researcher
Tatiana is a Legal Researcher at the EELC. Tatiana holds a Bachelor of Civil Law (LLM-equivalent), an undergraduate law degree from the University of Oxford and a politics and philosophy degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She has also completed the Bar Practice Course. Before joining EELC, Tatiana worked as a Research Fellow at the Public Law Project in the UK. Through her work, she aimed to ensure that the use of automated decision-making systems by government departments is rights-respecting, lawful, fair and non-discriminatory. She has also been a judicial assistant at the Court of Appeal of England and Wales and a legal assistant at the Law Commission of England and Wales. Tatiana is excited to be part of the fight for education justice in South Africa.
Katherine Sutherland – Legal Researcher
Katherine Sutherland holds a LLB (2020) and a Bachelor of Social Sciences (2015) degree from the University of Cape Town (UCT). She has worked in the civil society sector as a researcher and in grassroots community engagement for over three years. Katherine is a Canon Collins Sol Plaatje scholar and is doing her LLM in Public Law by dissertation at UCT on the topic of the increasing privatisation of public services, specifically in the basic education sector, and how to hold private actors who perform public services accountable through administrative and constitutional law. She hopes to strengthen and inform South Africa’s regulation of the private sector and ensure that human, and specifically children’s rights, are upheld and protected in an increasingly privatised world.