Court interpreters 'cause injustices'

2011-10-13 17:00

Cape Town - Poorly trained freelance court interpreters are causing "injustices", the Judicial Services Commission heard in Cape Town on Thursday.

Zaba Nkosi, who was being interviewed for a position as a judge in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court, said a number of injustices would have occurred if he, as a Zulu speaker, had not been presiding as the judge.

"We need to bring interpreters under control to make sure they do what they are paid to do," he said.

"They need to be tested all the time to see whether they are proficient in languages. They need to be trained as well."

Nkosi said the department of justice could possibly "bring in measures" to help achieve that.

Other languages

It was important for courts to find ways to accommodate other languages, Nkosi said.

JSC Commissioner CP Fourie said it was vital for interpreters to be controlled once they were admitted to the courts.

"The importance of what they do cannot be underestimated," he said.

Earlier, JSC commissioners grilled candidate Soma Naidoo on why she thought she would be the right candidate for the KwaZulu-Natal High Court which already had five Indian women serving on its Bench.

"I don't think the colour of the judge would make such a difference," she said.

"From my view. I am a South African; it doesn't matter what colour I am. I am passionate about serving the community in which I live and ensuring that justice is done."

  • Forseti - 2011-10-13 17:04

    And that is the correct answer Soma and probably the only answer

  • Serpentarius - 2011-10-13 17:39

    what 'poor training'? its collaberation...pure and simple! a common cause to bring about confusion and a subsequent case dimissal due to a 'technicality'. scentence the bastard 'interpreter' as well!!

      Forseti - 2011-10-13 17:54

      Dumbest comment yet . Interpreters are used in all matters including civil matter where a party is not able to speak English and there are lots of complaints regarding poor interpreters. This isn't a conspiracy FFS

  • Yoni - 2011-10-13 18:01

    Mr Zaba Nkosi is talking the truth. Hear, hear! The question is what the DOJ is going to do about it? Guess the answer...

  • Gail - 2011-10-13 18:22

    Language is vital in a court of law and I agree with this judge. Interpreters should be able to interpret what witnesses for defence and prosecution are asking as well as what is being asked of them by the legal profession. We live in Africa as well as a global village and one cannot discount how vital communication is. This is another reason why in our country and abroad, the death penalty should not be reinstated, unless the alleged accused has either confessed or forensic evidence is irrefutable and witnesses have positively identified the subject. By the same token where the crime is one of violence such as rape or murder that person should have a chip implanted in their skull and their pictures published on milk cartons and their movements monitored. These convicted people should never see the light of day again and should be securely but minimal humanity shown them in prison and they should have to earn their keep in solitary band this includes blankets/clothes and nutrition. Any infringements and they lose a privilege. In SA it is laughable that these people who are sentenced to 14 life sentences or whatever knowing that chances were they could be released because prisons are overfull or it is the Pres b/day.Alison's rapists are up for release despite having been put away for life. She is devastated.

  • Hugh - 2011-10-13 19:39

    I seem to remember a time when court interpreters were highly skilled people. Sadly like all thing ANC the wheels fall oh so easy.

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