Justice Department mitigates load shedding impact on courts

Friday, March 31, 2023

Justice and Correctional Services (DJCOD) Minister Ronald Lamola says the department is doing all it can to mitigate the impact of load shedding on court services.

He said the delivery of justice services must continue, despite the challenges of scheduled power outages.

“We have to do everything we can to adjust to the challenges that confront us... and ensure that the justice system functions, despite our challenges,” Lamola said.

According to the department, plans have been registered to provide alternative power solutions to courts and service points.

“To ensure that disruptions to court activities are kept to a minimum, [the department] has registered a project to install 80 generators at various service points. The project is at different phases of implementation in the provinces.

“All other capital, upgrading and refurbishment projects registered with the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) include the provision of generators or alternative power supply to ensure that service points are always functional.

“The [department] has also embarked on a pilot programme to install inverters/solar power at various service points through the new minor works delegation received from DPWI in October 2022,” the department said.

Furthermore, several superior courts were provided with generators to “mitigate the risks of power failures and/or load shedding”.

“Courts with generators will now take part in the transversal contract on the provision of diesel so that courts can operate without disruptions. In addition, DPWI has advised that they are engaging a term-contractor for maintenance of the existing generators. Emergency lights have been procured for cells and all dark areas in courthouses.

“Court personnel continue to serve the public during load shedding, focusing on administrative processes that can be done manually. These processes are then captured on ICMS, MojaPay and other IT systems once electricity is back,” the DJCOD said.

The department has also moved to avert potential data losses and ensure business continuity at all networks by providing uninterrupted power supply (UPS) systems in all server rooms.

“UPS units are, however, required for court recording technology (CRT) machines in all these courts to prevent data loss and minimise interruptions,” the DJCOD said.

The department is also engaging with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) and with the Minister in the Presidency for Electricity to “explore the possibility of justice service points being red flagged and not to put the power off during the times in which the courts and other service delivery points need to function”. – SAnews.gov.za