Zuma signs new court bill

2013-08-13 17:31

Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma has signed into law a bill that aims to promote access to justice, the presidency said on Tuesday.

Rigorous and urgent steps were needed to ensure that justice did not remain the privilege of the rich, but was a fundamental human right enjoyed by all, Zuma said in a statement.

"The Superior Courts Act is a step in this direction."

The act provided for the re-organisation and rationalisation of high courts and their jurisdictional areas.

Currently, superior courts were structured in accordance with the Supreme Court Act.

With the implementation of the new act, the current 13 high courts, which included high courts inherited from the former self-governing apartheid homelands, would be rationalised into a single high court with a functional division of the court established in each province.

"The communities who live in the now Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces have endured the hardship of accessing the high court in north Gauteng and the high court in Pretoria, since the formation of the Union of South Africa, for a period of more than a century," Zuma said.

"Legally they can now have the benefit of having their own division of the high court right at their doorstep. This will happen as soon as the construction of the two high court divisions in Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces has been completed."

The construction of the Limpopo seat of the high court would be completed by June 2014, while the construction of the Mpumalanga seat was expected to start before the end of this year, Zuma said.

The act would also place magistrates in every division of the high court under the control of the judge president of the division concerned.

  • Hansie Crook - 2013-08-13 17:48

    Mr Bills!!!

      yaya188 - 2013-08-13 18:18

      Yada yada yada.........who the hell believes this?

      Linds Ron-House - 2013-08-13 19:23

      @Leonard and company, please guys do you really have to take a negative view on anything and everything? This Bill was created by legislators from all political parties in parliament. Also remember that there is separation of powers between the legislature and the executive. All that Zuma did was to sign the Bill into Law. He doesn't contribute to writing it since he is not a member of parliament. The intentions are good. Our high courts, especially South and North Gauteng, are currently overloaded as they hear cases from Limpopo and Mpumalanga in addition to Gauteng cases. This new Act will alleviate that problem. What kind of a person thinks that's a bad idea?

      Linds Ron-House - 2013-08-13 19:42

      @Leonard, traditional law is very effective, swift, free and restorative. In other western countries they're called community courts. Their role is the same, to resolve minor disputes within the community. Traditional leaders just need to be trained to be able to make judgements that are compatible with the supreme law of the country. Let me just give you an example or two. Several years ago I sold a car to some guy and he was going to pay me in installments. But he only paid the first installment. He refused to pay and to return the car. Although we had a signed agreement, the police wouldn't help because it was a civil matter. A 1 hour consultation with a lawyer cost me over R1000 and for him to write a letter of demand was another R1,500. I lost a lot of money. In another case a property developer was constructing townhouses behind our plot. One afternoon I got home and found our boundary wall demolished and our security compromised. I asked him nicely to result and plaster the wall but he was so arrogant. I went to the police and they refused to open a case of malicious damage to property because they said there was no way I could prove that he was malicious. I involved lawyers but it just became too expensive. To save myself money and time I rebuilt, plastered and painted the wall. That's where you need traditional and community courts to deal with such disputes. Going to a high court is extremely expensive and time consuming.

      Hein Huyser - 2013-08-14 06:35

      Linds, it's in the "training" area where you will run into a brick wall. Traditional leaders still think (in general) that a woman is a second rate citizen, a witchdoctor who performs mutilation practices on unsuspecting youths are ok and in the process kills and infects thousands with possibly the HIV virus, and that the Sangoma is a great source for tribal direction to survival in a country that yearns for Western standards. Nope, they had a place in the old regime, but now we need proper, Constitutional based laws to be instituted in the whole country that is fair and equal towards friend and foe alike. We need more courts, that I agree with, and zero political influence in the appointments of said judges. We do not need to repeat the mistakes of our Northern neighbors. They are a joke in the eyes of the investing world and will reap/are reaping the fruits of appointing bad political leaders. We need either or. Two set of laws and authorities will dragg us down to Zim level

  • Themba Nsele - 2013-08-13 17:50

    Slowely but surely we will get there, thats why we need to bring back anc in power next year.

      Lekke Perd Chevyss - 2013-08-13 18:43

      Sjame Themba, you Trol..

      Rudie - 2013-08-13 18:53

      Hope he appear in the very same courts one day.

      Mattewis Kat - 2013-08-14 07:20

      @Themba It's voters like you that kept Apartheid going! The minister of foreign affairs at the time (Pik Botha) kept on telling the world that one-man-one-vote democracy in South Africa would lead to chaos. You and your ANC have proved his point unequivocally! The rand dropped to R2/$1 when the state of emergency was imposed in 1984, but then dropped to R8/$1 when the ANC came to power and never looked back! Mugabe is 15 years ahead of you, and his people are looking for employment as garden hands & house maids in South Africa. Where are you going to seek employment in 15 years time, Themba? Europe perhaps? Forget it, there are millions of Africans way ahead of you. Remember South Africa is the last in line, being the final African country to expel the "oppression of the colonialist"!

  • Verbotene Liebe - 2013-08-13 18:01

    l agree, he is Mr Bills, Where is the Bill for Rapist and Murders???

  • Mliks Mchunu - 2013-08-13 18:18

    Come on News 24, This goverment, Zuma, Anc, Da, in the oldern days. Come on say it 1,2,3 go

  • Bongeka - 2013-08-13 18:22

    We can't wait till we're close to the elections for good things to happen. Things that should've been the first priority are now coming up in numbers. I won't say I don't like good things to happen for the people of SA, but timing leaves too many suspisions and unanswered questions. If this is the rate development is gonna go, then I might as well forget that I'll ever see my country becoming a first world country.

      Leora Lipka - 2013-08-13 19:04

      totally agree, we all have become cynical and suspicious, things only get done close to election time, maybe the tenure should be shortened to 4 years ?..

      Hein Huyser - 2013-08-14 06:38

      One year? then there will be continuous improvement

  • Snet Mbangata - 2013-08-13 18:33

    I wish we SAn we had really leader In this country someone who knows how to stand up and serves peaple,eradicate porvety,unemployment,give service delivery to evry citizen and makesure that women and children are protected

      Hein Huyser - 2013-08-14 06:41

      Then appoint someone that can do that. You can not appoint a Neanderthal and expect modern, desired results. Neanders do what they do, progressive leaders do what they do. Think without color.

  • Lucky Khunou - 2013-08-13 18:42

    Where there is smoke always there is fire

  • Jacob Kwena Motadi - 2013-08-13 18:55

    I don't think the high court would be completed by 2014, construction has been down for a year in Polokwane.

      Leora Lipka - 2013-08-13 19:05

      hope they won't be using any contractors from the Medupi lot.

      Hein Huyser - 2013-08-14 06:43

      LL, haha LOL. Twenty times the quoted cost and 5 years behind schedule with no end in sight. I would say, keep Luthuli house out of tenders. That's your source of unaccountability and disrespect for us taxpayers

  • Christine Leigh - 2013-08-13 19:00

    From an academic side, does this Act have any impact on past precedent and jurisdiction?

      Hein Huyser - 2013-08-14 06:44

      Nope. The law stands as per our Constitution.

  • Naomi Smart - 2013-08-13 19:08

    What a load of rubbish and gullible people there are in this country!!!!

  • Jeremia Morobe - 2013-08-13 19:12

    Justice? For ordinary citizens? Right...

      Hein Huyser - 2013-08-14 06:44

      Well JM, we can hope.

  • Phumi Shange - 2013-08-13 19:14

    Very interesting...I wonder if this has nothing to do with competition against Malema ...**** Also interesting that this comes into place just before Election ****mhhh***

      Hein Huyser - 2013-08-14 06:46

      TU for the timing comment.

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