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Free legal advice at the touch of an app

Read time 3min 20sec
Gugu Gumede is founding member of the Molao365 app.
Gugu Gumede is founding member of the Molao365 app.

South Africans seeking much-needed legal advice can now access this information via a newly-launched legal literacy app, Molao365.

The Molao365 app offers a free legal advice servicefrom a legal team, which comprises qualified and experienced lawyers, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Molao, meaning ‘law’ in Tswana, was founded out of dissatisfaction by the “exploitative” nature of the current business models of most law firms, says Gugu Gumede, legal practitioner and Molao365 founding member.

“The current business model of law firms and the legal fraternity in general is way too exploitative and unaffordable. Opening a file and a simple consultation can easily range between R5 000 to R7 000, which a majority of our population do not afford. I always maintain that this is indeed against the ethos of our Constitution.”

Gumede also believes the model does not benefit most of the population, as it fails to service them in their localised needs and languages. “In our experience, most people just need legal literacy and not legal representation. People tend to shy away from using any form of legal services.”

Besides English and Afrikaans, Molao365 provides legal advice in three of the other local languages, namely Zulu, Tswana and Tsonga.

She adds that the current law business model does not leverage improvements in systems thinking, business re-engineering, project management and fourth industrial revolution initiatives.

“The legal fraternity seems to be always lagging in implementing these initiatives. Implementation of these initiatives would have greatly assisted in making access to legal assistance more affordable but because of the exploitative nature of the business model, most law firms did (still do) not see the need for implementing these initiatives because costs are simply passed down to the consumer.

“The legal field has been ripe enough for disruption for a long time, and as a new SME, we had to leverage on our own expertise and partnerships – IT programmers, business re-engineering and systems thinking – to execute our strategy.”

The idea for the legal literacy app was conceived in 2016, according to Gumede, adding that together with co-founders Marble Sync and Oceana Business Re-Engineering, the app was finally brought to market in June this year.

She indicates the app offers expert legal advice in most areas of the law.

However, requests range from enquiries about labour matters; deceased estates, wills and property-related matters; and different types of marriage regimes, contracts disputes, trust registrations and labour issues.

Requests also include formal transfer of land ownership from community land to individual families, disputes with mining companies and other businesses operating within the community, and inter-family disputes on the proceeds from businesses operating within communities.

Explaining how the app works, she says: “Firstly, you need to download the app from your Play Store or your App Store. After downloading, the app will prompt you to insert your name and e-mail address, and then click on login and it will take you to the chat platform where you can then start typing your request.

“If the question requires research, the user will be informed and our research team will revert back to the user via e-mail within 24 hours.”

Gumede hopes the app will help users gain legal access without a cost, as well as develop trust in the capabilities of the app’s experts, which she hopes will turn into users trusting these experts to be their legal representatives of choice.

The Molao365 app is available for download from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

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