New Justice Minister Ronald Lamola. File photo: Tracey Adams/African News Agency/ANA.
JOHANNESBURG - The new Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola on Thursday "declared courts gun free zones" following the gang incident that occurred at the Johannesburg Magistrates Court.

"We declared courts gun free zones and yesterday's [Wednesday] incident was an attempt to disrupt the justice system," Lamola said.

On Wednesday guns were drawn at the Johannesburg Magistrates Court when rival gangs from Westbury got into a fight. The rival gang members had been due in court. The fracas was captured on video.

Concerned about the violent incident, Lamola did an on loco inspection of the court precinct on Thursday morning. During the walkabout the minister also interacted with court security and court officials.

"We can not allow gangs and criminals to disrupt the justice system. They were searched and weapons were found," said Lamola.

The minister said the challenges faced in courts could be resolved. He said the department would be engaging with the police to ensure that witnesses were safe.

"This issue was foreseen, but unfortunately there was a lapse with the gangs being brought to court at the same time."

He said that most courts were able to handle the challenges they faced but they just needed to improve on the administrative side of things.

Security at the court has since been beefed up.

African News Agency (ANA)