Conducting of court cases under trees angers union
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The decision to conduct Musina Magistrate’s Court cases under trees has incensed the Public Servants Association (PSA).
Apart from believing it’s an inappropriate venue, the PSA says it exposes officials to danger as security has not been enhanced. It is of the opinion temporary mobile structures would have been a better option as the outdoor arrangement contravenes section 8 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Also, priority cases could have been transferred to other courts.
Due to its poor condition the court was closed on July 21, but the Department of Justice decided to continue allowing it to conduct cases under trees. A prohibition notice was issued by the Department of Employment and Labour, stating that the building posed an immediate danger of collapse that may cause fatal injuries.
’’The arrangement is unprofessional and exposes officials to danger as security has not been enhanced. Other options, such as the provision of temporary mobile structures, could have ensured uninterrupted services whilst maintaining the dignity of customers and employees,’’ the PSA said.
Court cases are being heard under a tree at the Musina Magistrate's Court. The buildings were cordoned off on Monday after they were declared occupational health hazard. #sabcnews pic.twitter.com/wT6m9LLZyJ— Pimani Baloyi (@PimaniBaloyi) July 28, 2021
’’This outdoor arrangement further contravenes section 8 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, which dictates that every employer must provide and maintain, as far as is reasonably practicable, a working place that is safe and without risk to the health of employees.
’’Working outside compromises security for employees and the employer is advised to reconsider and urgently provide safe and conducive alternatives.
’’The South African Constitution provides that everyone has the right to dignity and working under tree goes against the spirit of justice.’’
The PSA said it is addressing this issue with the department and called on Minister of Justice Ronald Lamola to urgently address the problem and ensure that while a permanent solution is sought, appropriate alternatives are provided as a matter of urgency.