Wednesday, 13 October 2021 10:46

Moseneke appointed to head a rationalisation committee to help improve access to justice.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola, has appointed a rationalisation committee tasked with identifying and finding solutions to barriers for access to justice.

"As we reimagine South Africa into a development State, we need to ensure that the structural barriers which inadvertently hamper access to justice are addressed systemically.

"I have no doubt that this committee, headed by retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Mosenke, will deliver a report which will bring our systems in line with the best global practices," Lamola said.

Together with Moseneke, the committee will include:

  • Retired Deputy Judge President of the High Court of South Africa Western Cape Division, Madam Judge Jeanette Traverso.
  • Retired Chief Magistrate, Renuka Subban, of Verulam Magistrates Court.
  • Retired Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions, Dr Silas Ramaite.

The Justice Department said that historically, those living in South Africa have long faced challenges when they attempt to access justice.

"Access to justice in South Africa is severely curtailed by the lingering effects of apartheid judicial demarcations and spatial planning. In some instances, the distances travelled by citizens who interact with the justice system, is excessive.

"In other instances, the proximity of police stations, legal aid and other State functionaries to a particular seat of a division of the High Court, has a bearing on the accessibility of the justice system, "the department said.

Work done by a previous departmental rationalisation committee ensured that all nine provinces have a High Court.

According to the department, the work of this new committee is, in part, to ensure that human resources are distributed equitably to these courts.

"In order to ensure that these courts are able to fully service our population, the department… must assess a number of factors. This includes measuring the population ratio against the number of judicial posts in a division.

"The rationalisation committee will [also] assess the judicial establishment of each Division of the High Court of South Africa, with a view to ensure that there is an equitable distribution of judicial posts across all divisions," the department said.

The committee is expected to submit a report, together with recommendations, to the Minister within the next six months.