Coronavirus: Courts to remain open for now, says Mogoeng Mogoeng
Cape Town - Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng says South Africa's courts will remain open for now despite growing fears around the spread of the coronavirus.
Mogoeng on Tuesday urged South Africans to pray "for the sake of this country".
Mogoeng, who was addressing the media in Johannesburg on the measures the judiciary will be taking to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus which has infected more than 60 South Africans and more than 170 000 people worldwide, said it would be "myopic" to shut down the country's courts while "we don't know how long this will last".
He did, however, announce a number of stringent hygiene measures that will be put in place in courts, including:
* sterilising courtrooms twice a day;
* measuring the temperatures of persons entering the court buildings;
* sanitising hands of everyone entering and exiting court buildings;
* install sanitisers at work stations and in corridors of court buildings.
Mogoeng said while cases would continue to be heard for now, the situation may change dramatically should millions of South Africans become infected, and a shutdown would then be unavoidable.
On Monday, Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo directed that only legal practitioners, witnesses and accused be permitted to attend court hearings. This would be immediately in force and remain in effect until the start of the second court term on April 14.
The judge further directed that apart from urgent matters, judges and staff will deal only with matters that are already enrolled for hearing, provided that parties agree to postpone matters which have already been enrolled during this time.