Satisfaction with justice system declining – Lehohla

2015-04-14 15:39


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Pretoria - The level of South Africans’ satisfaction in the criminal justice system is “not excellent”, statistician general Pali Lehohla said in Pretoria on Tuesday.

Satisfaction with courts declined from around 70% among respondents in 1998 to about 64% in 2013/14.

Lehohla was briefing reporters on the “Public perceptions about crime prevention and the criminal justice system” report.

A representative sample of 30 000 households took part in the survey.

 “The level of appreciation of this system is not excellent, 49% is a fail in my books,” he said of the level of satisfaction with correctional services recorded in 2013/14.

People more satisfied with police

“The public used to have courts as credible sources of meeting justice, but this had dropped,” he said.

Satisfaction with police however increased from 38% in 1998 to just under 60% in 2013/14.

“The range is from a C, D and E, not a B or A,” he said, referring to symbols used in schools to grade performance.

Speculating about the possible causes of the decline, he said the financial crisis of 2008 and the strain this placed on households may have contributed.

Analysed by province, the current level of satisfaction with police was the highest in the Western Cape, at 64%, and lowest in the North West, at just under 50%.

Over 70% of respondents in the Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo were satisfied with the way courts were doing their job. In the Western Cape it was lowest, at 45% of respondents.

'Sharpen the pencil of policy'

With few exceptions, people’s perceptions of how police, detectives, prosecutors, and judges handled victims of burglaries and assaults decreased between 2011 and 2013/14.

“The level of satisfaction with the way in which detectives, prosecutors and judges handled their cases decreased steadily over the years,” the report states.

Lehohla said the statistics were intended to help improve policy.

“What we are trying to do is to sharpen the pencil of policy,” he said.

There needed to be integration between the three arms of the justice system – the police, courts, and prisons and people had to be given incentives to ensure crime was reported.

“To the extent that the system is fragmented it is less likely to capture public confidence in the way justice is meted out.”

Read more on:    pali lehohla  |  judiciary  |  police

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