SA's justice system goes high-tech

2011-10-06 14:39

Johannesburg - South Africa's justice is going high-tech with a system that will prevent meddling with case files, high court Judge Eberhard Bertelsmann said on Thursday.

"With this system, judges will be given an electronic case file the moment a case is opened. The electronic files will be saved in a server and will have certain features to prevent meddling," he said.

Bertelsmann was talking at the Consumer Goods Council of SA's annual conference in Johannesburg. He said the new system was decided on at a national judiciary meeting in 2009, and was being initiated this year.

"Previous chief justice Sandile Ngcobo endorsed this model and his enthusiasm has been carried over with new Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng," Bertelsmann said.


In July, Ngcobo said the system would prevent a backlog of trials.

"While it previously took hours or days to send documents from one point to another, now this can be done in seconds via e-mail," he said.

"If the proper systems are in place and the necessary hardware available, it is now possible for busy judges to access court documents from anywhere."

Bertelsmann said the overhaul would revitalise a criminal justice system "creaky in its joints".

"We have 40 000 people awaiting trial in prisons. Some are granted bail, and others can't even raise R300 needed for bail.

"It is unfair that we punish people at a cost to ourselves that is greater than R300, because these people are poor. That does not sit well with a Constitution that demands equality and dignity."

Bertelsmann said the current justice system brought out the worst qualities in people.

"The profession of law produces strife, conflict, greed and bitterness. We are hoping to change these inefficient, musty and impractical processes."

US, Singapore models

He said the new system was based on models used in the United States of America and in Singapore.

"We went there and saw that each judge has two desktop computers and they determine the timeframes through which a trial occurs. Every step in the judiciary process is overseen by the judge."

He said an efficient, and technologically advanced system would benefit the consumer goods council as well.

"How would we deal with crime, protect brands and patents, guard against unfair competition and protect labourers from being exploited if we never had courts?" the judge asked.

"We are embarking on a very exciting trek... that has filled us with optimism. This new process demands a new culture, and we need the support of all members of civil society, including consumer organisations."

The system required judges to undergo a training programme.

"Law is always about learning, because things change very often," Bertelsmann said.

"We do need to train people to deal with the system, especially older people like myself, who might find it harder to understand the technology. All of this is going to take time."

  • Born To Fish - 2011-10-06 14:43

    Yeah right! You still need competent people to type in the info!

      Green Oaks - 2011-10-06 14:50

      Born, I must agree. There is a saying. GIGO. Garbage In; Garbage Out. 80% of them are illiterate.

      WhiteMalema - 2011-10-06 14:52

      You're right. But at least, files will now not be able to dissapear.....unless of course a virus destroys all and our incompetent data capturers have failed to back-up the information.

      saabnut - 2011-10-06 15:01

      And the custodian of the server- none other than the honest, beyond reproach, Mo Shaik...

      Slartibartfast - 2011-10-06 15:04

      Hmmmmmmmmm ..... Lacoste .... remember ENATIS? Remember how often it was down and licensing offices had to be closed? For weeks on end? What makes this ANY different? I'll tell you what .... This will cause criminals to be set free should it be down for any period of time. WAKE UP !!!

      Civil_Rights - 2011-10-06 15:13

      Let's try this new system on our corrupt politicians, better yet at Juluis' hearing.

      threewins - 2011-10-06 15:13

      all those computers + eskom = ?

      vanilla34 - 2011-10-06 15:22

      ATTENTION all news24 users trolling is a virus and is spreading throughout the Internet, please stop this horrible disease before it spreads to your homes ending up at your dinner table, infecting your children who in turn spread it to their friends!  If you have this disease please do something about help!!  If you experience any or all of these symptoms then you know that you have Obsessive Compulsive Trolling Disorder or OCTD: *Making racist comments and verbally attacking people you don't know. *Chasing people away from the forum because they don't share your point of view *Discriminating and hating people you don't even know. *Assuming someone is a certain gender and then verbally abusing them based on your assumption! *Assuming someone is blond/redhead and making jokes about them, thinking it's funny *Commenting on articles with a violent undertone just to see the reaction of other people *Throwing in mean comments because you think it's 'cool'  *Commenting just for the sake of commenting without even reading the news or article  *disrespecting peoples religious and political views *Calling people names *Swearing!!  *Trying to sound Controversial without any base or facts to support it! *Trying to be a Grammar Fascist *Wishing death to a fellow human! GROW UP PEOPLE!! ...You are acting like nasty spoiled Brats and YOU are making these sites/forums very uncomfortable for everyone!

      Mercury01 - 2011-10-06 15:42

      Lacoste,these guys thrive on negativity,the glass is always half empty for them,I just feel sorry for their kids who have to be around all that negative energy.... shame.

      Honestly - 2011-10-06 15:52

      I thought that it was April 1. You can implement the most sophisticated system, but when you have idiots working it, alas it will fail

      Honestly - 2011-10-06 15:56

      @vanilla34. You forgot to refer to yourself and say "posting cr@p comments"

      THE-SRG - 2011-10-06 15:56

      ag pls...if you guys cant take a bit of humor then roll over and die

      nosiphom - 2011-10-06 16:00

      Yes Vanilla you forgot one more: *Critising an improvement without having given it a chance to take off. We do not even know if information will first have to be written then scanned, how fingerprinting will be done (scanned in or electronic fingerprinting), and yet we rubbish the improvement (GIGO, etc). The fact that there will be no need to carry dockets in briefcases must be applauded - alone that is a huge step forward !

      Mags_24 - 2011-10-06 16:08

      wow the negativity in this place is amazing. @Slartibartfast so you basing everything on enatis. Who knows who will be building the system, as far as i know Google as been tendering for a lot of gov IT work and has been winning it. for all we know it will be an international company supplying the solution. But even then im sure you will find something to bitch about.

      Bokkie 36 - 2011-10-06 16:13

      @vanilla34: Wow, well said! I agree with you 100%. Some of these comments actually makes one feel sick.

      Lizzee - 2011-10-06 16:46

      Dude. I was a data capturer for the government. Not every data capturer is incompetent!!!!! Every single one in my team did amazing and we went above and beyond our daily quota EVERY single day. Stop generalizing so much, it's bad for your health. And it goes for every single one of you on here that insults government data capturers like that. If you haven't been there you can't comment on our competence. End of story.

      Neles - 2011-10-06 16:59

      @Slartibartfast remember DSTV boxoffice launch? Remember Windows demo by Bill Gates?

      Coconut - 2011-10-07 08:00

      Are black judges able to use laptops? No seriously, are they?

  • Gordon20 - 2011-10-06 14:46

    Would be great if it works.

  • Pixie1984 - 2011-10-06 14:47

    Punish people that can't pay bail? I don't know about the rest of you but I think if you get arrested and thrown in jail, it's few people that are there unjustly. If you can't pay bail, don't do the crime. As for the case numbers, it just makes it easier to make something disappear if you pay the right person.

      kalabafazi - 2011-10-06 14:54


  • kalabafazi - 2011-10-06 14:47

    Hey!!! Where do I post my bribe to get the tender???

      kalabafazi - 2011-10-06 15:03

      Schweet. See you later.

      burtfred - 2011-10-06 15:08

      No kalabafazi, don't do it - Lacoste is a French imposter. Put the money in KFC packet and take it to the men's changeroom at Virgin Active, Randburg. I'll meet you in the showers for your tender reward.

      kalabafazi - 2011-10-06 15:11

      The KFC packet sounds dangerous. I might get mugged by a speed cop thinking he had scored a free lunch.

      Civil_Rights - 2011-10-06 15:24

      send your nationalized bribe to the following address Postal Address: Private Bag X9316 Polokwane 0700 Physical Address : Corner of Hospital & Dorp St Polokwane 0699

      Johnny-BB - 2011-10-06 15:48

      ...only BEE companies can tender... white companies, thank you...

  • Brainbow - 2011-10-06 14:48

    Wow!!! At last! This is great news for our country!!!

  • fussed - 2011-10-06 14:49

    Next week "Crash of South Africa's justice System" R400m system crashes and no back up and developer did not pass woodwork

      Born To Fish - 2011-10-06 14:52

      Sorry Judge it is going to cost you R35 per transaction like the E-Natis system!

      kalabafazi - 2011-10-06 14:52

      E-NATIS 2

      Gazelle - 2011-10-06 16:15

      OR next week "Black-out frees several inmates"

  • Geefformee Forfree - 2011-10-06 14:54

    Just like the high tech they use to prevent the outrageous theft under the watchful eye of ACSA at all the airports! Hope its also indestructable and 'sleep on top' proof. Corruption has just become so much easier... instead of stealing the docket from the filing cabinet, they just have to click delete now!

  • Neill Mackenzie - 2011-10-06 14:56

    This is a step in the right direction! Well done!

      Slartibartfast - 2011-10-06 15:06

      Hmmmmm .... just a pity we are ten miles behind ... not just a step.

  • Boerkwas - 2011-10-06 15:01

    Now the DBA's will get the bribes and the judges will strike for better wages. All of a sudden, everyone in IT will be driving new SUV's

      MR. Pretorius - 2011-10-06 15:22

      IT professionals are normally already quite well off and wont risk getting fired and losing EVERYTHING in order to gain a few hours' worth salary. The only problems might occur during High Profile cases where the guilty party has a couple bar to get rid of. not your average street murderer/ Rapist.

      MR. Pretorius - 2011-10-06 15:26

      No disrespect to HONEST policemen/woman. But if I earned such a bad salary as our men in blue I would also be tempted to take a R500 bribe in order to get a drunk driver off the hook. R500 bucks is a lot of money if your struggling financially and put your life at risk to protect people who generally hate you. This does not include 'Speetkops', everyone hates them and theyre useless. lol

  • burtfred - 2011-10-06 15:02

    Any odds on Gumedi of Gajima or Gupta of Sahara getting the contract for the computers?

  • Martin - 2011-10-06 15:03

    Eech, yea each one will get a new leeptoop for da games and da internet!!

  • swiftyza - 2011-10-06 15:04

    a hackers heaven

      Tassenberg - 2011-10-06 15:09

      Yes, hacking might become a lucrative business, if they can't even find someone to secure the Youth League's website that was hacked about 9 times already this year, but at least the youth league hacks causes for a good laugh, this might not.

  • farmworker - 2011-10-06 15:06

    You guys can't stop being racist. What does the BEE have to do with Judges, those people are highly educated,the Chief justice is a Black and deservedly so and if you don't luck it you can go Jump in river

      Boerkwas - 2011-10-06 15:11

      Say WHAT? "Chief justice is a Black and deservedly so?" We're in more trouble than what I thought

      farmworker - 2011-10-06 15:15

      @Boerkwas how are you doing in your career I bet you are just about average

      burtfred - 2011-10-06 15:24

      What on earth did he do wrong to deserve being black? Besides, some of my best friends are black.

      Geefformee Forfree - 2011-10-06 15:24

      Yup!!! Just a farmworker!!

      farmworker - 2011-10-06 16:05

      @burtfred He did not do anything and is not a curse to be Black but a blessing

  • Dorsy7 - 2011-10-06 15:08

    This is innovative thinking, I hope it works. Good going & a thumbs up to our justice system. At least you are thinking of solutions to the existing problems unlike SA's who always see a problem in the solution.

      farmworker - 2011-10-06 15:18

      Agreed,it is a good thing. But wait till SITA's bandwidth is crammed or the backup fails

  • semaj - 2011-10-06 15:11

    Welcome to 2011, but now we have to re-educate both the Judiciary and the clerks how to "apply their minds" to the new system. Bets are that it will take another 10 years and 1000 lost cases to bring into effect.Until then hackers might have an orgy of destruction.

  • QuestionMore - 2011-10-06 15:15

    Wow... so now they will use PDF files instead of paper?

      Gazelle - 2011-10-06 16:20

      PDF files can be faked too - just look at President Barack Obama's "official" birth certificate!

  • MR. Pretorius - 2011-10-06 15:16

    This will greatly improve the turnaround time and hopefully stop criminals and Rapists from paying a few hundred bucks to make a case file 'disappear' and be free to do it again. We should embrace technology!

  • EnglishBoer - 2011-10-06 15:17

    "SA's justice system" is that an oxymoron or a contradiction of terms?

      Civil_Rights - 2011-10-06 15:54

      You an oxyMORON Englishboer.

      EnglishBoer - 2011-10-06 16:04

      Wow! Another clever putdown! How could I ever respond to that!

  • codger - 2011-10-06 15:19

    Bring back the World Cup courts. A homeless guy was caught stealing a duvet & within 24 hours was sentenced to 15 years in jail. Why does it take so long to prosecute our esteemed dignitaries.

      MR. Pretorius - 2011-10-06 15:39

      lol, I think that might be a bad example. Shame man, it was really cold. Rather focus on that dude that stole a camera from an international journalist and was behind bars after 2 days.

  • branden.hart - 2011-10-06 15:19

    Just rename ENATIS to eJUSTICE and voila done.

      kalabafazi - 2011-10-06 16:01

      And send a R400 million invoice to the government

  • kalabafazi - 2011-10-06 15:19

    Eh.. does any one remember the log in username and password??

  • Oboa - 2011-10-06 15:19

    Hooooooo "Electronic files".. Whatch out. Just is easy to manipulate!

  • Tax_payer - 2011-10-06 15:22

    Took a while to join the rest of the world.

  • Thingamebob - 2011-10-06 15:24

    It will just make corruption easier, that's the only reason why they are doing it. Not to make it easier to fight crime. A pox on them

  • Ingie - 2011-10-06 15:24

    Hope they dont get a virus and the whooosh all the files gone

  • Ingie - 2011-10-06 15:29

    I must admit though even though our comments sometimes are not the greatest..think we are very good with them. I get a good laugh everyday with some of them. Thanks you to all you guys that make my day except for a few exceptions. @kalabafazi - love yours ----Eh.. does any one remember the log in username and password

  • Deeteem - 2011-10-06 15:42

    Mmmmm ja, I can see this forcing judges from Gauteng to "go on course" for a month at a 5* V & A waterfront hotel just to learn how to use the mouse !!

  • Mike or Mpho - 2011-10-06 15:46

    That's great, let's just hope that the government will maintain this system and will know how to operate it.

  • getnotted - 2011-10-06 15:51

    Here comes ENATIS number 2.It will roll out and not work properly, somebody will need another billion to fix it and 2 years later it will be officialy safe to use. Then just like our licence system every month when they "update" data nobody will be able to access it for 3 to 5 days. Then most of the electronic goods supplied will be stolen.

  • wings optional - 2011-10-06 15:55

    is this going to be like the brilliant eNatis system?

  • Investor - 2011-10-06 16:08

    Policemen: Eish, now you take away my income, how can I make money on the side if I cant be selling the dockets...eish man I'll have to go back to robberies, what a pain !

  • Bart Zimzon - 2011-10-06 16:10

    The idea is modern and good. So far about the idea. But the system will be as good as the BEE "input-ters". How easy will it be to buy those inputters out? Will there be other BEE's or cadre deployees to check on the inputters? Will the system also be cK-proof? or will it be soon: Bozzz, izz broken...

  • Freddie One - 2011-10-06 16:11

    The system, however expensively purchased from a BEE supplier, will only be as good and secure as the people doing the data input.

  • Chris - 2011-10-06 16:22

    I’m glad they are putting this in place. What are they doing about the back log of cases, and what is being done about cases that takes forever to finish.

  • Faansie - 2011-10-06 16:22

    Go for It

  • POLLENYS - 2011-10-06 16:33

    Hahaha. There is no foolproof system, especially not in SA.

  • Stinkhout - 2011-10-06 16:34

    This court has considered your case based on the spam we received about you. Your file was so full of viruses that we had to delete it and replace it by a file from a similar case. Only names and places were changes thanks to this nice find and replace function. The sentencing options available in this American program were aimed at serious crimes but due to network error we have to use it for your case. So Dr Julius van der Merwe, you are herewith sent to death for the parking offence in Pretoria while you were in Cape Town and using a car that is not yours. We could not prove that but it doesn’t matter. This sentence will be suspended for 10 yeas provided you make a monthly contribution to ANCYL via the Malema institute of BS. Court dismissed – logging off ….no not Ctrl Alt Del you idiot!

  • Sean - 2011-10-06 17:26

    A paper less system.... mmmm I just built such a system for my employer and it works like a bomb! This is way overdue! Hopefully his will mean the end to "lost" dockets and case postponements and also be able to indicate where the case is "lingering" at any one time!

  • gerard.cronje - 2011-10-06 17:37

    They were suppose to go Hi-tech 4-5 years ago? Did they finally get the server booted

  • Not Black - 2011-10-06 17:45

    What is the sense of this HIGH TECH system when the actual PROBLEM in this country is the JUSTICE SYSTEM - Or Rather the lack of a system. Buy the EX Min, Bridget Mabandla a CALCULATOR..... Now that is HIGH TECH. Or Better still, find a way of CALCULATING how much FRAUDULENTLY Siphoned Money can be RECOVERED from the BBBBBBBEEEE Range Rover Brigade. Just Imagine, 40000 cases awaiting Trail? That must be MORE than ALL Cases in Singapore over 10 years. SA does not have a CRIME PROBLEM, SA has a JUSTICE PROBLEM. Seems the MOST DEFUNKED and CHAOTIC Govt Dept is Justice. And who is the CAPTAIN in Charge? None other than Jeff Radebe, the Floating Minister "YES MAN" to JZ. I REST MY CASE...... What a Joke.

  • EishPasteSarmi - 2011-10-06 17:59

    Welcome to the Tech-Age... bloody time you started using pcs instead of pathetic constables

  • EishPasteSarmi - 2011-10-06 17:59

    Welcome to the Tech-Age... bloody time you started using pcs instead of pathetic constables

  • Bill - 2011-10-06 18:33

    Well, it would have to be on a network and in that case, I don’t care what security features they claim it will have, it will be hackable ...! So a new breed of cyber crime will be born! In fact probably easier than stealing the documents themselves! Only upside, is the thug police officers won't have access directly themselves..! But still a good move on the part of the justice system…!

  • Boerseun - 2011-10-06 18:59

    Can we also decide that all judges must always read their oath of office into record the moment any case comes before court.

  • seshike mmoledi - 2011-10-06 19:23

    Let us hope all the energy the government is putting in place can work, as such we will have a proper judiciary system and that will also help not to have our jails being full because of people waiting trials for long time so all will be right, and correctional services also must have some changes with regard to how they handle the prisoners so as the police, must go electronically in doing their own things to avoid criminal activities, fraud and corruption within, once a person lodge or open a case, then the first step the docket be opened manually, then same time be captured on computer system which link with courts and electronically the complainant be sent case number electronically, this will avoid the cases or dockets to be lost or stolen and will reduce police and correctional officers corrupt activities.

  • ASA - JUSTIN - 2011-10-07 05:04


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