Minister Lamola to approach Cabinet on the judiciary’s proposed system of court administration

May 20th, 2022

Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola, told the Portfolio Committee of Justice and Correctional Services, that three Bills will be introduced during the 2022/2023 financial year. The Lower Courts Bill, 2022 and the Magistrates Bill will replace the current Magistrates’ Courts Act 32 of 1944 and Magistrates Act 90 of 1993.

Mr Lamola added that the Trust Property Control Bill is the latest edition to ensure that there is an improvement in the anti-money laundering regime. He said that under the current administration, trusts are used to hide assets.

Mr Lamola pointed out that as a result, law enforcement agencies have struggled to obtain accurate information on real beneficiaries with regard to the assets in trust. He added that the Trust Property Control Bill will address this issue to ensure that South Africa’s (SA) anti-money laundering legal dispensation is in line with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force and international best practice. He said that the Transkei Penal Code 9 of 1983 and the Riotous Assemblies Act 17 of 1956 will also be repealed. ‘The latter Act will be replaced with the proposed Criminal Matters Amendment Bill. These wide-ranging amendments seek to update legislation with the new constitutional order’, Mr Lamola added.

Regarding the modernising of the justice service, Mr Lamola pointed out that during this financial year, his department intends to implement Phase 2 of the online services in Maintenance, Protection Orders, Deceased Estates, and National Register on Sexual Offences and commence with Phase 1 of the State Attorneys online services. Mr Lamola also spoke about the Court Administration Model, adding that the judiciary has proposed a particular system of court administration informed by their own research. He pointed out that he intends – during this financial year – to approach Cabinet on the Executive’s response to the judiciary’s institutional model.

Mr Lamola said: ‘The executive’s response would also be part of the measures we intend to take towards implementing the recommendation of the National Planning Commission to accelerate reforms to implement a judiciary-led independent court administration.’

Mr Lamola told the Portfolio Committee of Justice and Correctional Services that the Office of the Chief Justice (OCJ) will be evaluated on the strategic outcomes in this financial year, which is set out in the department’s 2022/2023 Annual Performance Plan, namely –

  • effective and efficient administrative support;
  • improved court efficiency; and
  • enhanced judicial performance.

Mr Lamola added that to achieve the above outcomes, the OCJ will expand and evaluate initiatives such as rolling out the Court Online solution to five Superior Courts. ‘I am delighted to report that the development of the Court Online case management solution is complete,’ Mr Lamola said. He pointed out that the final solution has been piloted in the Gauteng Division of the High Court and the systematic roll out to all other Superior Courts will commence in this financial year. Mr Lamola added that the eventual implementation of this solution in the Superior Courts and magistrates’ courts will ensure true integration of the electronic, paperless court process.

Mr Lamola said that the OCJ remains committed to its constitutional mandate of supporting the judiciary and government mandate as outlined in the National Development Plan and the revised Medium Term Strategic Framework. He added that in supporting the judiciary, the OCJ will continue to prioritise the capacitation of the South African Judicial Education Institute. Mr Lamola pointed out that the impact of budget cuts resulting from prioritisation of the national response to COVID-19 pandemic is still felt. However, he added that the OCJ must be innovative and develop ways to operate under these constrained conditions in order for the courts to keep operating.

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

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