Over 150 new magistrates appointed to improve court efficiency

2015-12-13 17:35
Police Minister Nathi Nhleko (Netwerk24)

Police Minister Nathi Nhleko (Netwerk24)

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Cape Town - An additional 154 magistrates have been employed at various Magistrate’s Courts countrywide to improve efficiency, the Minister of Police Nathi Nhleko said on Sunday.

This follows recommendations from the Magistrates’ Commission, said Nhleko at a justice, crime prevention and security cluster briefing.

“We have also in conjunction with the Magistrates’ Commission embarked on improving the processes relating to the filling of vacancies from the advertisement stage and interviews to appointment,” he said.

“The creation and filling of regional court posts is further being prioritised.”

Nhleko said backlog courts staffed by contract magistrates, prosecutors, administrative staff and legal aid representatives have been identified to deal with large numbers of outstanding cases.

“The problem in many areas where case backlogs are encountered is that there are an insufficient number of courts and permanent staff, including magistrates, to attend to the normal court rolls,” he said.

According to Stats SA's recently released Victims of Crime Survey 2014/15, 54.4% were satisfied with how the courts were performing. 

Nhleko said conviction rates in all courts improved in comparison to last year.

“The high courts achieved an 89.9% conviction rate against the target of 87%, the regional courts achieved a 77.7% conviction rate against the target of 74% and the district court achieved a 94.3% against the target of 88%,” he said.

The prosecution of complex commercial crime saw a conviction rate of 93.2%, said Nhleko.

“In addition, the lower courts had an 88.2% conviction rate in organised crime and a conviction rate of 82.4% in relation to trio crimes - carjacking, house robbery and business robbery.

“Compared to last year the performance relating to trio crimes improved by 2.3%.”

He said enhanced focus on trio crimes included screening processes by the National Prosecuting Authority as well as training and improving the monitoring of the prosecution of this crime category. The initiatives implemented are now showing positive results.

“The prosecution of cybercrime cases in order to curb this growing international phenomenon has [also] been very successful.  The courts achieved during quarters 1 and 2 of 2015/16, a conviction rate in cybercrime prosecutions of 96.7% [119 convictions], exceeding the target of 74% [82 convictions] by more than 22%.”

He attributed the improved court performance to continuous training of prosecutors and investigators and continued interaction with the judiciary on case flow management.

Read more on:    nathi nhleko  |  judiciary

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