Minister of Justice amends court directives during lockdown period

April 8th, 2020

By Kgomotso Ramotsho

The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola, has issued amended directives to address, prevent and combat the spread of COVID-19 in all courts, court precincts and justice service points. According to the statement that was released by the Justice Ministry the amended directives were published as GN R440 GG43191/31-3-2020. These directives replace the directives that were issued in GN R418 GG43167/26-3-2020.

The statement stated that as part of government’s measure to curb the spread of COVID-19, essential justice services will be available at all courts between 10:00 and 13:00 daily during the lockdown period (27 March until 16 April).

Family law services will only attend to urgent applications in respect of matters referred to the Family Advocate by the court with urgent applications. The statement further stated that applications for protection orders will still be addressed, as will enforcement orders.

The offices of the Master of the High Court will attend to urgent appointments in terms of deceased estates, as well as curatorship. Criminal courts will be open to preside over bail hearings and first applications. Matters on the court roll will be rescheduled and members of the public will be informed of new dates for court appearances. Audio-visual remand technology at correctional centres will be used as widely as possible to mitigate the need for persons in custody to appear in court.

The statement further stated that persons whose matters are on the court rolls and not urgent should, for purpose of the lockdown, stay home and not make an appearance at the courthouse until after the lockdown. The courts will ensure that those persons with matters that are not urgent, be advised of the new dates to which their matters were postponed.

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