Loo fight: Prosecutors consider legal action over toilet restrictions by magistrates

2008-05-21 00:00

Aggrieved Pietermaritzburg public prosecutors have approached the Human Rights Commission and are considering launching an equality court application over the alleged refusal by some district magistrates to allow prosecutors to use their toilets.

The Witness learned that the row was sparked on Tuesday by an altercation between a senior public prosecutor and a magistrate — both women — over the use of a toilet in the magistrates’ corridor.

It is alleged that when the prosecutor was about to enter the toilet the magistrate put her foot in the door to block her path and pushed her.

The senior public prosecutor concerned yesterday declined to comment.

However, the incident was confirmed by several sources at the magistrate’s court.

Prosecutors who spoke to The Witness wished to remain anonymous as they fear victimisation.

The Witness was told that the matter was verbally reported to the Human Rights Commission in Durban yesterday, and that a written grievance will be lodged with the HRC.

Prosecutors have also demanded that locks put on the magistrates’ loos be removed forthwith, and issued an ultimatum to the court manager to ensure that this is done.

“We can’t let it rest,” a senior prosecutor told The Witness. “We are all professional people and this is a gross violation of our rights. This type of thing takes us back to the days of segregation. There is no law that says they can do this.”

It is alleged that while there is almost one loo per magistrate in the building, the rest of the court staff, including prosecutors, numbering between 200 and 300 people, are expected to share two toilets on the ground floor.

The public toilets are so filthy that no staff member will even enter the rooms.

The Witness was told by one prosecutor that when she previously complained about being locked out of the magistrate’s toilets she was told that prosecutors “abuse the facilities and the air fresheners”.

Nothing came of her complaint at the time.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.