KZN needs more judges

2013-06-21 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL needs more judges and prosecutors, as the shortages are causing delays in the delivery of justice, says Premier Zweli Mkhize.

Tabling his budget speech at the provincial legislature yesterday, Mkhize said the shortage had caused a backlog within the justice system.

“Six judges are needed, but because of space constraints, only three judges can be accommodated,” said a source with knowledge of the situation.

“The minister has said there are budgetary constraints, which is why more judges cannot be appointed, but you cannot dispense justice properly in that manner,” the source said.

Mkhize told MPs that he had written to Justice Minister Jeff Radebe about the shortages of prosecutors and that Radebe believed that the numbers were adequate.

“In further engagement with the judiciary in this province, it is clear that in relation to its population, KwaZulu-Natal has a small number of judges when compared with Gauteng and the Western Cape,” the premier said.

K waZulu-Natal had 27 judges for a population of over 10 million, while Gauteng had 79 judges for just over 12 million people and the Western Cape had 34 judges for a population of just over five million.

“Looked at in terms of these statistics, it is obvious that there will still be a need for more prosecutors. As per our cabinet resolution, I shall again take the matter up with the minister of Justice or if need be the president,” Mkhize said.

KwaZulu-Natal Judge President Chiman Patel said the analysis by the premier had been accurate, but declined to comment further.

Bulelwa Makeke, head of communications in the National Prosecuting Authority, said they were experiencing a shortage of prosecutors. “We do not have a full complement of prosecutors. I think that [this is] because we are currently experiencing financial constraints.”

She was unable to state how many prosecutors they had and how many were needed. She also declined to speak about the backlog of cases.

Attempts to get comment from the Justice Ministry were unsuccessful.

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