A student who served his articles with the Wits Law Clinic was admitted digitally to the High Court of South Africa. 

Mbavhalelo Mmbadi made history as he became the first lawyer to be admitted as an attorney to the High Court of South Africa, digitally on Monday May 4, 2020. 

The 35-year-old had to forgo his trip to the Pretoria High Court, where traditionally, admission proceedings take place in person, but he realised his life-long dream of becoming an attorney through video conference on Microsoft Teams. 

Although he admits there were difficulties retrieving physical documents due to lockdown restrictions which nearly hindering his chances of admission. He was then allowed to upload these documents online and resume the process. 

Speaking to the Wits Vuvuzela, Mmbadi said, “My application was found to be in order, and my admission was confirmed. The admission oath was also administered online, which was thereafter emailed to me to sign. The judges then congratulated me on my admission and wished me well for the future. The idea of online admission left me conflicted. I wanted to have my picture outside court as is custom, but I was also excited to be part of history.”

Mmbadi studied an LLB degree at the University of Venda, and then proceeded to serve his article requirement at the University of Witwatersrand beginning in 2018.

Being admitted as an attorney allows the individual to specialise as a patent attorney, conveyancer as well as a litigator. It also allows the attorney to represent clients in a court of law. While all attorneys can be identified as a lawyer, not all lawyers can be referred to as attorneys. 

The 35-year-old is currently working towards a Master of Laws degree (LLM), majoring in environmental law, a field he hopes to specialise in as he finds his passion in doing his part towards saving the environment. 

“My father used to be an environmental law enforcement officer, and doing this is also to honour his memory,” he said. 

Daven Dass, the director of the Wits Law Clinic, emphasised how proud he was of Mmbadi and how it was during his interview that he realised he could progress into the field with an element of ease. He continued to say how much enthusiasm and ambition the young man had which showcased how willing he was to reach his goals. 

Dass speaking to the Wits Vuvuzela said, “Personally, Mr Mmbadi re-affirms the notions of hope, faith and most importantly, empowered and visionary leadership to ensure that individuals like him achieve their dreams. To me, his story and journey is an inspiring and uplifting one, which is even more touching given the humility and helpful nature always displayed by Mr Mmbadi.”

He continued to say that he expects to see a rise in online admissions due to the lockdown restrictions that made it impossible to be admitted to the High Court physically. However, he foresees that once individuals are able to return to their normal lives, the process of being admitted will return to the traditional method which Mmbadi missed out on. 

FEATURED IMAGE: Mbavhalelo Mmbadi in front of Wits Law Clinic. Provided by: Mbavhalelo Mmbadi