Renovation of the Gauteng Local Division High Court Library

January 27th, 2016
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From left: Johannesburg Bar representative on the Gauteng Local Division (GLD) Library Committee, Seena Yacoob; Chief Librarian, Thulisile Nzimande; Chairperson of the GLD Library Committee, Judge Fayeeza Kathree-Setiloane; Deputy Judge President Phineas Mojapelo; Judge President Dunstan Mlambo; former Chief Librarian, Salome Vranas; former Chairperson of the Library Committee, Justice CJ Claassens; and members of the GLD Library Committee: Judge Bashier Vally, Judge Segopotje Sheila Mphahlele, and Judge Roland Sutherland.

From left: Johannesburg Bar representative on the Gauteng Local Division (GLD) Library Committee, Seena Yacoob; Chief Librarian, Thulisile Nzimande; Chairperson of the GLD Library Committee, Judge Fayeeza Kathree-Setiloane; Deputy Judge President Phineas Mojapelo; Judge President Dunstan Mlambo; former Chief Librarian, Salome Vranas; former Chairperson of the Library Committee, Justice CJ Claassens; and members of the GLD Library Committee: Judge Bashier Vally, Judge Segopotje Sheila Mphahlele, and Judge Roland Sutherland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Kevin O’Reilly

In September last year Judge Fayeeza Kathree-Setiloane, the Gauteng Local Division High Court Library Committee Chairperson, welcomed guests to the refurbished Gauteng Local Division High Court Library. Among the guests were Judge President of both the South and North Gauteng Division of the High Court, Dunstan Mlambo; Deputy Judge President of the South Gauteng High Court, Phineas Mojapelo; and Deputy Judge President of the North Gauteng Division of the High Court, Aubrey Ledwaba.

As part of the renovation project of the court, the library was renovated from a single storey resource facility to a double storey. The ground floor of the library continues to house various collections of legal texts, loose-leaf journals and law reports both national and international for use by lawyers as well as members of the public involved in litigation in the court. The second floor houses a collection of legal texts, loose-leafs and law reports for exclusive use by judges.

This new space offers judges a quiet place for research and writing with access to computers and network points to access digital resources, as well as a kitchen with tea and coffee.

Judge Kathree-Setiloane, said between the years 2007 and 2010 it was particularly challenging for the library. Senior librarians were poached by law firms and universities offering competitive salaries and better employment conditions.

Judge Kathree-Setiloane said ‘to put it simply, the library was in “tatters”’. The texts and collections in the library and judge’s chambers lacked integrity and dependability.

‘The Government Gazettes and loose-leaf collections had not been updated since 2008, new edition legal texts were not purchased and the cataloguing systems were non-existent,’ said Judge Kathree-Setiloane.

Judge Kathree-Setiloane said Justice CJ Claassens in his capacity as then Chairperson of the Library Committee expressed his concern at the state of the library.

In 2011 the library committee employed Salome Vranas as acting Chief Librarian. ‘Ms Vranas was tasked with doing a complete “clean up” and “revamp” of the library,’ said Judge Kathree-Setiloane.

With the assistance of LexisNexis the library staff updated over 4 000 loose-leafs.

In 2014 the library upgraded the judges chamber libraries to the value of R 1,5 million.

Judge Kathree-Setiloane said the Gauteng Local Division Library is the largest High Court library in the country with approximately 76 000 books.

‘The library has finally developed into a major repository for judges, lawyers and members of the public,’ said Judge Kathree-Setiloane.

The library is currently led by Thulisile Nzimande.

Kevin O’ Reilly MA (NMMU) is a sub-editor at De Rebus.

This article was first published in De Rebus in 2016 (Jan/Feb) DR 12.

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