Judicial system needs digital overhaul - Mogoeng

2016-11-29 18:36
(Amanda Khoza, News24)

(Amanda Khoza, News24)

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Polokwane – The country's judicial system needs to stop being reliant on paper and enter the digital age, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said on Tuesday.

This would cut costs and speed up court procedures, he said at the official opening of the R1bn Limpopo High Court in Polokwane.

“It frustrates and delays the appeal process,” he said of the current paper-based system.

Going digital would result in fewer case files being stolen. Even if physical files were destroyed, they would have digital copies.

Some of these digital documents would be “cheaply available to the litigants,” as it would cut back on the costs of things like transcription.

More efficient evidence-gathering

Mogoeng said some countries, including Swaziland, had gone the digital route when it came to gathering and storing evidence.

Going this route would make it easier to gather evidence from people in South Africa and elsewhere.

The digital system could also be used for postponing cases.

He was displeased that some awaiting-trial prisoners were forced to travel long distances to courts, only for their cases to be postponed. This problem could be solved with video-link appearances and would prevent delays and escapes.

"If the resources could be made available to digitise our systems, you don't have to travel long distances for a postponement."

Justice Minister Michael Masutha said at Tuesday’s event that the court had started operating in January so that backlogs could be dealt with.

It was the first high court the country’s democratic government had built and would help ensure equal access to justice, he said.

A dedicated high court would be opened in Mpumalanga next year.


Read more on:    mogoeng mogoeng  |  polokwane  |  judiciary

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