Not enough translators for Joburg courts
Johannesburg - More than half of the cases heard on a daily basis in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court and its ten satellite courts demand foreign language translators, and there are not enough of them to meet demand.
"We've had problems with the issue of foreign language translators for years," Chief Magistrate Gert Jonker told Beeld newspaper.
Cases were being delayed because there were often no translators to assist in court.
Jonker said the courts had previously used part-time translators, who were not employed by the state.
There had been a few irregularities, so the department of justice had decided to appoint the translators on contract, so as to improve control mechanisms.
Since the department had appointed Mangope Motaung to oversee an experimental project to do with foreign translators in October 2011, there had definitely been an improvement, Jonker said.
"The department is aware of the shortages, but at the moment, we're still struggling. The 30 foreign translators we currently have are inadequate," he said.
There was, in particular, an urgent need for translators in Northern Ndebele, Ibo (Nigeria's language), Maputo-Shangaan, and Chinese.