The Durban Point Magistrate’s Court will be the first court in South Africa where domestic violence survivors can apply online for a protection order.
“We hope to learn important lessons from this pilot as we prepare to roll out a more comprehensive version throughout the country,” Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola said on Tuesday.
Lamola made the statement when he delivered his budget vote in the National Assembly.
He said the court, with its immaculate design and modern fittings, would go a long way in alleviating the congestion at the main district court of Durban.
Delivering his speech, Lamola said the budget for the department in 2021-22 was R21.5 billion, which was cut by R2.4 billion.
The budget allocations are as follows:
- Legal Aid South Africa R2 billion;
- Special Investigations Unit R437.9 million;
- Public Protector South Africa R329 million;
- South African Human Rights Commission R195 million;
- Magistrates’ salaries R2.4 billion;
- National Prosecution Authority R4, 446 billion;
- Investigative Directorate R106.4 million; and
- R40 million for the establishment of additional Special Commercial Crime Courts in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape and North West.
Lamola said the Specialised Commercial Crimes Courts were central to the fight against corruption and will contribute to the successful implementation of the anti-corruption strategy.
“All serious economic crimes, including corruption and fraud cases, are being channelled through these courts. Cases enrolled in these courts, are being monitored separately to enable targeted interventions where necessary.”
He also said they would continue to roll out sexual offences courts as they played a critical role in the fight against gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF).
Lamola said 100 sexual offences courts would be dedicated in terms of Section 55A of the Sexual Offences Act to improve the adjudication of sexual offences matters.
He said the modernisation of the criminal justice system (JPSC) continued to be one of the JCPS cluster’s priorities.
A total of R626.2 million has been allocated for the Integrated Justice System. “A further R524.3 million is set aside for the Department’s specific modernisation projects.”
The minister said they would commence with the second and last phase of the rationalisation project of the justice system in the 2020-21 following the completion of magisterial districts in Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
“This phase entails the rationalising of the areas under the jurisdiction of the Divisions of the High Court and the judicial establishments of both Divisions of the High Court and Magistrates’ Courts.”
He said the terms of reference of the next phase of the rationalisation project would be published in the government gazette in due course.
“A rationalisation committee will be established to provide a detailed report and recommendations which will enable us to finally dismantle the remaining apartheid-era judicial demarcations and fully align the courts to the new democratic dispensation.”
He said the work would culminate in the equitable distribution of judicial posts in both the high court and magistrates’ courts.
“This will translate into greater access to justice for all, as each court will have the requisite capacity and capability to dispense justice to the local community,” Lamola said.