Magistrate protest continues

2013-03-20 18:03
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Johannesburg - The nationwide protest by magistrates was continuing on Wednesday, the Judicial Officers' Association of SA (Joasa) said.

"Unfortunately we haven't had any progress from an engagement point of view. All we are faced with is threats and investigations from every sphere," said Joasa president Nazeem Joemath.

"We wish they could have used the same energy and vigilance to address our problems as they are [in] trying to conduct inquiries."

Joemath said the magistrate commission had been in his office conducting an investigation, and had spoken to several people.

He said the magistrates' position had not changed, and if the justice department had not responded to their demands by the end of the week, the protest would escalate.

Justice department spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga was not immediately available for comment.

The Office of Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng could also not be immediately reached on Wednesday afternoon.

Joemath said on Tuesday that despite what the justice department said, 70% of courts were disrupted countrywide by about 1 300 magistrates striking on Monday.

There were disruptions in several district and regional courts in parts of the country on Tuesday on the second day of the protest.

In Port Shepstone on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast, one magistrate postponed all the cases on his roll, Mogoeng's office said in a statement on Tuesday.

In Pinetown and in Madadeni most cases were postponed while in Nquthu, criminal courts were only carrying out postponements.

At the Randburg Magistrate's Court, none of the 12 permanently appointed magistrates, who are supporting the protest, were doing trials.

"They were still reportedly at work and carrying out other judicial functions," Mogoeng's office said.

Six acting magistrates and the acting heads of the office were assisting with trials.

"In the North West, the magistrates' protest action was limited to courts in Moretele and Odi," Mogoeng's office said.

On Monday, Mhaga said courts were functioning normally in all nine provinces "with no disruptions".

Magistrates want a single pay structure for the judiciary, one that would have their salaries and benefits put on the same sliding scale as those of judges.

This could see their salaries increase by almost 100%.

A dispute over the salary increase forms part of a matter before the before the Constitutional Court.

Read more on:    joasa  |  mthunzi mhaga  |  mogoeng mogoeng  |  johannesburg  |  durban  |  strikes

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