Minister Lamola launches a court that seeks to reduce domestic violence issues

May 3rd, 2021

Justice and Correctional Services Minister, Ronald Lamola, at the launch of the Point Branch Family Court on 26 March 2021.

By Kgomotso Ramotsho

Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola, launched the new Point Branch Family Court in Durban on 26 March 2021. The court is said to be the first facility of its kind to be launched by the Department of Justice, which offers integrated services, including facilities relating to domestic violence, maintenance, the Children’s Court and protection from harassment, among others. At the launch, Mr Lamola said that the court is a branch court, which in effect means that it concentrates on a whole basket of services.

Mr Lamola added that the court will reduce the number of people who seek to address domestic violence issues and maintenance matters at the Durban Magistrate’s Court. ‘This in essence is their specialist court,’ Mr Lamola said. Mr Lamola pointed out that it is increasingly common for women to be solely responsible for the upbringing of children. He added that when some men choose to run away from the responsibility of raising their children, they commit an act of gender-based violence. He said that child maintenance and support is a heavily gendered issue.

Justice and Correctional Services Minister, Ronald Lamola, during the ribbon cutting ceremony at the Point Branch Family Court in Durban.

Mr Lamola pointed out that the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has developed a tool that enables tracking absconders of maintenance via their digital footprint. He said through this facility, the departments maintenance investigators are well equipped to ensure that justice is served in the interest of the child. ‘Through this Family Court today, we entrench that right’ and ‘through this reliance on technology, we aid the support of custodial mothers in particular,’ Mr Lamola added.

Mr Lamola said that s 28 of the Constitution enjoins all to act at all material times in the best interest of the child. He added that through the court, the department entrenches that right. He pointed out that the court will introduce innovation in the quest to gear the justice system towards an effective response to gender-based violence. He added that the court will be the first court in South Africa, where domestic violence survivors can apply online for protection orders. ‘We hope to learn important lessons from this pilot as we prepare to roll out a more comprehensive version throughout the country,’ Mr Lamola said.

Kgomotso Ramotsho Cert Journ (Boston) Cert Photography (Vega) is the news reporter at De Rebus.

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