Protecting the Public Interest in South Africa

Students from the University of the Witwatersrand protest over tuition fees in April 2021 after thousands were denied registration because of outstanding fees. Photo by: Edward Molopi, SERI

Public Interest Legal Services include litigation, advocacy and other methods employed by public interest legal organisations to effect change and make a positive impact on lives of vulnerable and marginalised people in South Africa.

This site is a space to find public interest legal organisations, learn about the methods they use to bring about social change, and follow the impact that these organisations have made in South Africa.


Two new research reports in the PILS sector have recently been released

  • Social Justice Sector Review Report: Critical Reflections on the Social Justice Sector in the Post-Apartheid Era
  • Public Interest Law Organisations in South Africa: Models, Impact and Sustainability

Latest News

Will the government compensate me for my chronic illness from when I was diagnosed?
The short answer No, if your application for a disability grant is approved, you will only be paid from the day you applied. The whole...

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My name was linked to an RDP house and now I can’t apply for my own. What can I do?
The short answer You first need to find out how your name was linked to an RDP house before you can apply. The long answer...

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Activists want government to do more to register domestic workers
Three years after the landmark Concourt ruling, very little has changed with their access to compensation By Kimberly Mutandiro It’s been three years since the...

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Can I get permanent residency if my child is a South African citizen?
The short answer No, but you can apply for a relative’s visa. The whole question Dear Athalie My daughter is a South African citizen. Does...

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Activists demand end to TotalEnergies offshore drilling
The French multinational company wants to drill for oil and gas along the coastline near Cape Town, the West Coast and the Garden Route By Qaqamba...

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Here’s how South Africa’s social grant system has changed since 1994
SASSA pays 26-million grants every month By Daniel Steyn The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) spent R232-billion on social grants in 2022 – about 11%...

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PILS Organisations - An Interactive Map

The interactive map below introduces a range of public interest legal service organisations in South Africa. Click on the menu to the left to zoom in on social justice organisations and the community advice offices in each province, or use the search to find organisations.

Click on the top-left icon on the map to expand it to full-screen, and press escape to exit full-screen.