29 new magistrates appointed across South Africa
Cape Town - Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola has appointed 29 regional magistrates across the country.
His spokesperson Chrispin Phiri said the appointments take effect from September 1: “The minister appoints magistrates in respect of the lower courts after consultation with the magistrates’ commission.”
Phiri said the magistrates’ commission play a central role in the process, comprising vacancies which were identified and confirmed against the judicial establishment and funded posts.
The steps included advertisements, applications, short-listing and interviews, before recommendations were made by the commission to Lamola for his consideration and appointment.
“A fully transformed judiciary is a constitutional imperative. The appointments will further enhance diversity in our courts in terms of both race and gender, with 58% of the appointments being women (17 women and 12 men) and 75% African,” Phiri said.
“Of the 29 appointments, 22 are African, two are coloured, one Indian and four white.”
The appointments are for the courts in Soweto, Brits, Tlhabane, Moretele, Bloemhof, Taung, Rustenburg, Kimberley, Thohoyandou, Mhala, eMkhondo, Worcester, Oudtshoorn, Port Elizabeth, Mdantsane, Mthatha, Bloemfontein, Heilbron, Kroonstad, Durban, Verulam, Port Shepstone, Pietermaritzburg, Umzimkulu and Vryheid.
Lamola said: “Our magistrate’s courts are where most people encounter the justice system for the first time and thus for many, the courts embody the justice system. If the magistrate’s courts work well, it builds trust and confidence in the justice system.”
He said at a time when they are facing challenges in the courts due to the realities of Covid-19, the appointment of these regional magistrates will increase capacity and help to optimise service delivery.
The appointments come a week after Cape Argus reported that more than half of provincial magistrates working in the lower courts feared for their lives, suffered from stress and complained about heavy workloads.
Vanja Karth, director for the Democratic Governance and Rights Unit at UCT, said her team observed those interviews and would have a report on the conduct system ready by the end of this month.