Court brings justice closer to people of Kagiso

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

By Samona Naidu

Krugersdorp - Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Jeff Radebe on Tuesday opened the newly revamped Kagiso Magistrates Court, ensuring the residents of Kagiso in Krugersdorp will from now on have basic justice services at their doorstep.

“By revamping this court we ensure that the community of Kagiso will no longer suffer the indignity and hardships of having to commute to the far away court in town to access services relating to civil claims, family law, maintenance, deceased estate,” said Minister Radebe.

He said it was imperative that justice was felt in all the various spheres of people’s lives.

The revamped court forms part of efforts to accelerate access to justice, specifically for people living in townships and rural areas.

The court, which has been serviced by Krugersdorp only on criminal court matters, will now render a range of services from Maintenance and Domestic Violence to a Small Claims Court and a Children’s Court for the entire community under the Mogale City municipality.

The minister said through the Access to Justice Programme the department was moving to harmonise the magisterial districts within the constitutional dispensation. This will speedily transform the justice system and contribute towards building an equal and just society.

To date 35 magisterial districts for the Gauteng and North West Provinces have been aligned to serve integrated communities.

“By remodeling the criminal justice system we have now created a criminal justice system that responds to the needs of our democratic society,” said Minister Radebe.

The remodel included beefing up visible policing, improving crime-combatting initiatives and dishing out higher conviction rates and harsher sentences for perpetrators.  These efforts have heeded significant results in the past nine years. From 2004 to 2013 incidents of crime have declined. Murder reduced by 27.2 % since 2004, with a further reduction of 16.6% since 2009.

With the adoption of the Civil Justice Reform Programme (CJRP) which was approved by Cabinet in 2010, the department is working to ensure a speedy, affordable, simple and accessible justice system for the adjudication of civil disputes in courts.

Small Claims Courts in the country have also increased to 293, with 30 being established in the current financial year alone, and over 1630 commissioners preside in these courts on a pro bono basis.

“I am confident that the community of Kagiso will live up to its name which translates to ‘Let there be peace’ in Setswana, and set the trend for peaceful resolutions of civil disputes in our courts,” said Minister Radebe.

For mother of three, Nonthembehle Giyani, the court brings much relief. “I used to spend so much money on transport to go to court for my maintenance claim, but now I can just walk from my home and will be at the court in 10 minutes.”

Construction worker Enoch Addis said he hoped the new court would help put the criminals in the community away for good. “We feel safer and believe that our community will improve, because the new court will process more claims quicker.”

The Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development John Jeffrey, Deputy Minister of Public Works Jeremy Cronin, Gauteng MEC for Community Safety Faith Mazibuko, Executive Mayor of Mogale City Koketso Seerane and various judicial officials also attended the opening which formed part of commemorating Human Rights Month.

The opening of the new court coincides with government’s 20 years of democracy celebration. Since 1994 more than 43 new courts have been built and several others revamped, of which most were built in predominately black areas and rural villages.

The Kagiso Magistrate’s Court is the 29th Branch Court to be converted into a full services’ court since 1994. – SAnews.gov.za

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