Lamola hears of court roll challenges after gang rivals face off in corridors

Justice Minister Ronald Lamola conducts a visit to the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court. (Sesona Ngqakamba, News24)
Justice Minister Ronald Lamola conducts a visit to the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court. (Sesona Ngqakamba, News24)

Court roll management challenges at the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court have been relayed to new Justice Minister Ronald Lamola after rival gangs faced off in the court's corridors on Wednesday.

Court officials briefed Lamola on Thursday.

The gang members, from Westbury in Johannesburg, were there to support their respective leaders whose cases were placed on the court roll in different courtrooms on the same day.

Leeroy Brown, aka Finch, was applying for bail after he was arrested in connection with the murder of Reagan Jacobs in April. Brown's alleged rival, Keenan Ebrahim, appeared in a separate courtroom at the same time. He is accused of the murder of Bradley Sauls, who died in 2018 after he was shot and run over by a car.

But their supporters ended up clashing in the corridors of the court building.

WATCH: Chaos as rival Westbury gangs face off in Joburg court

Lamola admitted that officials made a blunder when the two cases were enrolled on the same day and said it would be corrected to avoid similar situations in the future.

He added that courts were able to handle such incidents, which is why police were able to act swiftly.

"We cannot allow gangs and criminals to come and disrupt the operation of justice.

"We take it very serious although police acted very swiftly and responded, but it was an attempt to disrupt the administration of justice," Lamola said.

Introduction of technology

Being new in the post, Lamola said he would work towards introducing technology to the courts and ensuring that it is implemented.

He understood that the department had already started with this process and believed that courts would be able to run with ease so that all stakeholders were aware of what was happening.

"The information and data collection must enable us to administer our courts in a manner that is efficient and is free of these kind of hiccups," said Lamola.

Child violence a concern

The department is also concerned about the increase of minors' involvement in crime, drugs and danger-based violence, added Lamola.

"When we engage with the department, we will further look into ensuring the strengthening of the justice processes, including the act, if there is a need to look at it," he said. 

Lamola was inspecting the court ahead of the appearance of a 19-year old Forest High School pupil on Thursday for a formal bail application following the murder of Daniel Bakwela, 16. Bakwela was stabbed to death outside his school on Monday. 


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