As the coronavirus pandemic gripped SA, lawyer Sinal Govender and venture designer Claire Keet Pollock realised that many people would be faced with the scary reality of death and sickness.
So they shifted the focus of their company, Pop Law, to highlight the often tricky administration that comes with death — admin that many people don’t know how to get their heads around.This pandemic is forcing us to face sickness and death in a very real way, for many this means having to get their ducks in a row quickly, and that is expensive”, said Govender.
On Friday, minister of health Dr Zweli Mkhize announced SA’s first coronavirus fatalities — two women from the Western Cape.
Pop Law is a platform that aims to make the law more accessible to a greater number of people. As a starting point the platform focuses on legal documents that relate to death.
The “COVERED-19″ legal pack is made of a living will, a last will and testament, a digital executorship document and a power of attorney document. They have made the documents available for free, and are offering advice through their social media platforms.
“We wanted to offer a legal pack for free for a while to try to alleviate some of the pressure for those who can’t afford to spend thousands of rand on legal fees at the moment,” said Govender.For the duo, this business decision was sparked by the realisation that there is a huge percentage of South Africans who do not have access to basic legal help on universal issues like death.
Govender says that as the only lawyer in her family, everyone looked to her after her mother died to sort out everything. She focused so much of her energy on legal administration that by the time she was grieving, her support system had moved past it.
“If I can allow even one person to avoid the process I went through, that will be a win for me,” she said.
The idea behind the free pack is to encourage people to use the legal documents to be proactive in the administrative challenges that may come with death.
In 2017, after losing her mother to cancer, she made a decision to move away from corporate law and focus on the social justice element of making people aware of the law.“For the both us, we have the same view that this is necessary to talk about because it’s the one inevitable fact of life”, she said.
With this platform, they have set out on a mission to provide 10,000 South Africans with free legal documents for the next 10 days. They then plan to offer an affordable legal document model and legal online consultations.
In addition to this pandemic they intend on using this platform as a means of tackling the misinformation that is being spread.
“We are all facing an infodemic, we want to provide necessary but appropriate information to everyone”, she said.