Report to the Portfolio Committee for Justice and Constitutional Development June 2003


1. INTRODUCTION…………………………………………………………………. 3

2. CORE BUSINESS……………………………………………………………….. 3

3. STRATEGIC DIRECTION……………………………………………………….. 5


5. IMPLEMENTATION OF STRATEGY………………………………………. .22

6. INCREASING ACCESS TO JUSTICE………………………………………..34

7. IMPROVING COURT EFFICIENCY………………………………………. 39


9. FACILITIES……………………………………………………………………..46

10. SECURITY……………………………………………………………………. 49

11. CORRUPTION………………………………………………………………...54

12 BUDGET ASPECTS…………………………………………………………...54

13. CONCLUSION………………………………………………………………... 60





This report will focus on the re-engineering of the Business Unit Court Services and the various initiatives undertaken to improve service delivery and court efficiency.

It should be noted that all the Business Units are linked by the common vision of the Department, namely:

To uphold and protect the Constitution and the rule of the law; to render accessible, fair, speedy and cost-effective administration of Justice, in the interest of a safer and more secure South Africa.

The Department aims to achieve this by:


The Business Unit: Court Services deals with the latter objective, in particular, and has as aim to provide an enabling environment for the provision of swift, accessible and economic legal redress to all customers of the courts by

The core business of the Business Unit is explicit from the mission and vision provided below:


The vision of the Business Unit: Court Services is –

To provide a responsive, modern and cost-effective court service to all court users, thereby creating an environment conducive to the fair and efficient administration of justice, and promoting confidence in the rule of law


The vision is underpinned by the following mission statement:

To strengthen the courts to deliver justice with EASE, implying the Efficient, Accessible, Swift and Effective delivery of justice


The mission will be achieved by:

  • Providing quality policy advice to the Minister and the Department concerning all aspects relating to the administration of the courts;
  • Expeditiously administering the court adjudication process;
  • Promoting confidence in the criminal justice system;
  • Ensuring the promotion of quality, cost-effective court services;
  • Addressing structural problems relating to the courts;
  • Facilitating the separation of the judicial, the prosecutorial, the administrative and the court managers’ functions to enhance judicial independence;
  • Improving the planning, research and knowledge management for courts;
  • Implementing an effective court management system, that includes, case management; Improving customer service by customising the principles of Batho Pele.



The Business Unit: Court Services has, in line with the Department’s vision, developed 10 new high-level strategic goals that will drive the change process over the next three years. Both human and material resources will be channeled towards the realization of these strategic goals. These goals are the following:

1 Develop delegations and devolve accountability to the courts

The aim is to implement a decentralised court services delivery model that will devolve appropriate delegations and powers to Court Managers that are being appointed country-wide to enable them to manage the courts in order to –

2 Enhance the provision of support services to the Judiciary

This will enable the Department to provide efficient support services to the Judiciary, including –

3 Facilitate access to justice for all court users, especially vulnerable groups including women, children, disabled persons and rural communities

Apart from the cost of litigation, other important factors that inhibit access to justice and are recognized as such by the Department in its core business are delays in the legal process, undue formalities in the legal process, the geographic distribution and physical availability of courts and legal representation or advice and the many elements of uncertainty in the legal process, and the anxiety and anguish caused thereby. The Department will therefore endeavour to facilitate easy access to justice through:

4 Implement modern technological solutions

This goal focuses on ensuring the Department’s longer-term capability. Particular emphasis is being placed on the following capability areas:

5 Forge strong strategic alliances with the JCPS and Integrated Justice System (IJS) partners

6 Facilitate the transformation of the Judiciary

Facilitate the transformation of the Judiciary involves that Court Services assists by amongst others –

7 Improve customer care management

This objective aims to –

8 Contribute effectively to policy development

This strategic goal involves analytical and advisory work at all stages of developing and implementing policies that impact on the Department or the Courts.

9 Facilitate the implementation of an integrated court management system

This strategic goal envisages the establishment of a case flow management system that will increase the effectiveness of the system through improved interaction between the role players, judicial leadership in the court management process and the tracking of the progress of every case, at every stage of the case. The system is based on the collaborative efforts of key stakeholders involved in case management to ensure that –

10 Implement an efficient court management information system

Accurate and reliable Information is vital for efficient planning and for resource allocation to the courts and it is therefore crucial to establish a court information management system to collate information that is usable. In order to gather information at a court level, it is necessary to enhance the capacity of the courts, so that information can be collated and channeled to the information management structure at the national level.



With the reconfiguration of the Department into self-contained and core function-driven business units it became necessary for the Court Services Business Unit to develop a new strategy that will develop capacity at the courts so that they become self-sustained delivery service points.

This reflects a major shift from the current operating model whereby courts are largely dependent on Regional Offices and to a certain extent National Office for operational management. Delegations relating to budget management, human resource management, finance and procurement lie currently with Regional Heads, and Court Managers and Control Officers are not empowered to take decisions that are crucial to the delivery of support services to the Judiciary and the Prosecution and this has led to massive delays and inefficiencies in the functioning of the courts.


The Business Process Reengineering exercise is being driven by the Re aga Boswa ("we are rebuilding") project, but the ideas behind these proposed changes came from the role players involved in the justice system, mainly the Judiciary, the prosecution, police and departmental staff. The needs of the community, our strategic objectives of timeliness, quality and judicial support and general objectives of improved effectiveness and efficiency support these ideas. The way we do things will become more customer-focused.

Re aga boswa is about the design and implementation of the decentralised court support service-operating model, which was approved by the Justice Board in mid 2002. The specific objectives of Project Re aga boswa are to:

The project aims to implement and operationalise the detailed decentralised design in selected pilot sites and provides assistance with the implementation and change management aspects pertaining to the transition to a decentralised support services environment.

The project is implemented in two phases, namely the Design Phase which focuses on business process mapping and the development of organisational structures at national and court level, and the implementation phase which entails the piloting of the new Operating Model. The Design Phase was concluded in December 2002 and the Implementation commenced in KwaZulu-Natal on 3 February 2003, and is scheduled to run for three months. The national roll out is envisaged to commence in August 2003.


A new Court Service Delivery Model was developed during the Design Phase, which aimed at reengineering business processes and redesigning organisational structures to ensure efficiency and efficacy of the court system. The new operational model also creates a new management structure in the Courts, where Court Managers will be empowered to take responsibility for the day-to-day management of the courts thereby relieving the Judiciary and the Prosecution of administrative tasks and thereby facilitate the separation of functions between the administration and the judiciary.

The following are some of the main features of the new Court Services Delivery Model –

The diagram below shows the redesigned organizational structure at court level:

The new design creates a dedicated capacity to take responsibility for case flow management to ensure that case backlogs and case cycle times are addressed separately from matters pertaining to facilities management. The distinction is necessary so that it becomes easier to measure the performance of every court in accordance with the split focus. A Court Registrar (a preferred term is Senior Case Manager as "Registrar" traditionally meant someone who accepted cases on behalf of the Crown, from the colonial era) will be responsible for case flow management for and on behalf of the judiciary. For that purpose, the Registrar reports directly to the Judicial Head, be it the Judge President, the Regional Court President or the Chief Magistrate. The Registrar is supported by the Court Manager in terms of resources required to perform those functions. Administratively the Registrar has reporting line to the Court Manager regarding the utilization of those resources. The Registrar will be supported by Case Officers in case flow management and thereby replacing the current nomenclature of "Clerks of the Court" which has a demeaning effect on the employees managing case flow processes and therefore result in a low self esteem.

On the general management side there will be a dedicated focus on Facilities Management to address issues pertaining to building maintenance, court security, asset management and IT support.

The diagram below reflects the case flow management role as distinct from a general management role

The Court Shared Service Centre

The Shared Service Centre is further development of an initiative which was originally termed Hub Court. At a conceptual level the Court Support Centre reflects a site, at one of the courts or elsewhere where high-volume repetitive transactions are executed. It is a shared services centre in that "a number of courts will share services from a common pool to which the Office of the CFO, Human Resource and Information Systems Management Business Units have transferred their administrative transactions. Through the modernization and automation process it could be feasible to have one shared service centre to service all the courts in the country. However, due to the current manual and paper system it is necessary to establishment a number of centres country-wide to execute the repetitive and high volume administrative transactions to support a number of courts within a cluster system. For practical reasons and economies of scale it is inconceivable to establish one centre for each court, as that will erode the essence of "shared" services concept.

The following are the primary features of a CSSC –

Business Case

The design of the new Court Services Delivery Model was preceded by a number of studies and research which studies of other international jurisdictions the product is a combination of best practices extracted from a number of countries and adapted to the South African situation. The model provides an alternative solution to improve service delivery at the courts to overcome the escalating case backlogs and log case turn around time. The staffing approach of the model will largely depend on the re-diversion of the existing resources to areas of needs. The de-establishment of Regional Offices will yield a larger percentage of human and financial resources which will be re-diverted to implement the new model.

Strategic interface and alignment with other Business Units

Of the eight Business Units in the Department, the color coded Business Units have direct interface with the courts. Court Services Business provides the enabling environment for those Business Units to deliver specialised services to the courts in a coordinated fashion:

The diagram below illustrates the coordination of all services in relation to courts through the Court Service Business Unit:


Centres of Excellence (CoE’s)

The rationale for the re-configuration of the Department into Business Units is to develop and enhance expertise on matters falling within the mandates of the individual Business Units for clear policy formulation and strategic focus. Through the Centres of Excellence (CoE’s) the Court Services Delivery Model other Business Units are enabled to focus on issues of policy and strategy while courts through the Court Services Business Unit take the burden of implementing such policies.

The diagram below depicts the CoE’s:

A series of strategic interviews and workshops were held with all Business Units to explore opportunities of alignment between their individual business models and the Court Services Delivery Model and as it is reflected hereunder, all Business Units having a direct interface with the courts, and as such have aligned and synchronised their activities to the extent that they relate to the courts.

Court Services (CS) and Human Resources (HR)

Court Services and Human Resources have developed business models with similar features. Like the Court Shared Service Centre (CSSC) the Customer Management Centre (CMC) model developed by HR is based on decentralised services to bring services closer to the customers.

The two models were analysed and compared and their distinguishing features extrapolated and in the end the following alignment opportunities were agreed upon:

Court Services (CS) and Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO)

CS and OCFO are unanimous that the development and improvement of finance processes is the domain of the OCFO while CS takes responsibility for executing the processes. Put more simplistic, the OCFO determine the "How" and CS execute the "What". The how part will include:

The compliance, training, advice and project management roles will be performed by the Operations Managers who are managed and guided by the Regional Finance Managers.

Court Services (CS) and Information Systems Management (ISM)

Two strategic meetings were organised between the two Business Units, the first merely to share information and relevant documentation while the second was more of a day’s workshop between managers of the two Business Units with a view of finding common ground between the strategic plans of the two Business Units. After intensive deliberations, consensus was reached on a number of strategic aspects, among others:


Milestones and key deliverables

The project has attained major achievements in a number of areas and some of the notable milestones are:

Change Management and stakeholder management

Subsequent to the project launch on 31 January 2003 a series of road shows were conducted to inform stakeholders about the project and solicit their buy-in to the Change programme. All courts within KwaZulu Natal have been visited by the project’s Change Management Stream. During these visits, attended by Judges, Magistrates, Prosecutors, Interpreters and Administration personnel, visual presentations on the new Court Service Delivery Model were made. At each presentation opportunities were afforded to the audience to raise questions of clarity and content and as far possible answers were provided by the presenters. A booklet on the Questions and Answers has been compiled to enable the project to measure the extent of buy-in from the stakeholders. The Q & A booklet is available on request.

Buy-in from the Judiciary and the Prosecution

The model was canvassed with, consulted on and deliberated upon with the judiciary and the prosecution as the key functionaries within the court environment. Judges have given their support of the programme and magistrates have no difficulty with the model save that they seek an alignment of the model with the Belabela resolution taken by the Lower Court Management Committee (LCMC). Joint structures of the Department and the LCMC have been constituted to identify issues that can be aligned and develop a joint strategy to address them, and defer to the Chief Justice and the Ministerial Task Team those issues which relate to policy.

The prosecution supports the change programme and the NPA participates in the Re aga boswa Steering Committee while Director of Public Prosecution in KwaZulu Natal has nominated the Durban Chief Prosecutor to participate on the project implementation at the pilot site.


Re Aga Boswa Project

As indicated above, the new strategy is mainly implemented through the Business Re-engineering exercise known as the Re Aga Boswa Project.

The implementation of the new Court Services Delivery model will result in the phasing out of Regional Offices and the re-diversion of resources currently residing at the Regional structures to the courts where they are needed most.

The phasing out of Regional Offices is on schedule and will be dealt with incrementally. The phasing out of the first office, namely the KwaZulu Regional Office has begun and it is anticipated to end on 31 July 2003.

A schematic outline of the time frames for the KwaZulu Natal and national roll out is given hereunder:

Court Managers

The capacitation of the courts is underpinned by the Department’s commitment towards the improvement of the management of courts and the commitment is carried out by accelerating the appointment of professional Court Managers and redefining the role of registrars of courts. Court Managers will take over all accountability for the resource utilization and facilities management and Registrars would focus solely on case processing, improving the services of the language practitioners in courts, and facilitating the introduction of case-flow management system to assist the judiciary and other role-players in managing the workload effectively. For this purpose we hope to establish Registrar’s posts at lower courts and increase the capacity of case officers (clerks of courts) to deal effectively with the case backlogs.

In the last financial year we have been able to appoint twenty Court Managers and we hope to double the number in this current financial year. Most of the appointment will be made from within the current-serving officials who continue to be exposed to development programmes to upgrade their skills that will enable them to meet the challenges of the redefined posts.

A training programme attended by all Court Managers and Registrars was conducted from 7 – 11 April 2003 to empower Court Managers to handle challenges brought by the new court services delivery model

Integrated Case Flow Management System

Integrated Case Flow Management is a project launched in response to the need to deal proactively with the huge backlog of both civil and criminal cases in our courts. In the High Courts, for example, the waiting period in criminal cases is about twenty months, and in civil matters, about twelve months. From observing and studying some of the world’s most efficient court systems, such as in Singapore, the Department concluded that the greatest impact on the backlog of cases would be felt by introducing an Integrated Case Flow Management system in the court environment. The project is part of the Criminal Justice Strengthening Program and will contribute to the Program’s objective of streamlining court services to provide modern and efficient administration of justice. Case Flow Management is Judiciary driven with the Magistrates and Judges taking an active role in dictating the course of the case, and provides for coherent and systematic case scheduling and rostering to ensure that blockages at every stage of a case are identified prior to the set date of trial and addressed accordingly.

The fragmented and uncoordinated case management processes between the Judiciary, the Prosecution, the Police, the departments of Correctional Services and Social Development and Legal Aid Board had made it easy for every stakeholder in the justice value chain to shift the blame for poor or non-delivery of services to the others.

Through the Integrated Case Flow Management System, the Business Unit seeks to establish a system that will enable all role players in the case management process to work jointly with a view of coordinating all their planning processes and resources for greater impact and improved service delivery. The benefits of an Integrated Case Flow Management System include reduction/elimination of case backlogs, reasonable cycle times, early court interventions and dispositions, information sharing and collective wisdom, increased convictions and improved service delivery. Case flow management is being strengthened by other projects currently underway such as the Integrated Court Centre Project, the Court Management Information System Project and the Operations Centre – all three which is leading to improved measurement of performance and integrated planning and service delivery improvement. The challenge remains to improve co-ordination within the Integrated Justice System and the two clusters (JCPS and Social clusters).

A Case Flow Management system is being piloted at the Cape Town and Johannesburg high courts, Durban Family Court and Soshanguve Magistrate’s court. The process is led by the judiciary in all the pilot sites and involves the participation of other stakeholders (SAPS, Correctional Services, Legal Aid Board). While the implementation at the Durban and Transvaal Provincial Division is on schedule, implementation in respect of the remainder of the pilot sites is still at a planning phase. With regard of the high courts Judge Kriegler, who recently retired as a judge, has been engaged to assist in building capacity at the high courts while a seminar on case flow management for the lower court judiciary is being planned for June this year.


In general the past year saw further improvement in addressing the needs of vulnerable groups such as women and children.




Family Court project

Since 1997, Family Courts have been operating on a pilot basis without any structured policy framework. A need for dedicated section at the various to handle family disputes in our courts is overwhelming. The idea is not to establish a separate structure for courts but to have a section in each court centre dedicated to handle family disputes. The Department has completed a Blue Print for a Family Court dispensation and the Business Plan reflecting the gradual implementation of the Blue Print is being finalized. The phased-in implementation is scheduled to commence this financial year (2003/2004). The implementation will see the strengthening of the current pilot sites in Johannesburg, Lebowakgomo., Port Elizabeth, Durban and Cape Town and will also provide for the expansion of the Family Court dispensation to other court centres.


Because the Government regards maintenance as a priority and an urgent need of many of our children, the Department has also embarked on an independent project to prioritise the restructuring of maintenance courts, although such courts will fall under the umbrella of the Family Courts.

Relating to the progress on the implementation of the Maintenance Act, 1998 (Act No. 99 of 1998), my Department regards this as a priority area and is continually introducing new efforts to improve the maintenance system. During the past year, much progress has been made in relation to improving the maintenance system in general and I would like to highlight the following aspects in this regard:

Gauteng: Johannesburg, Pretoria-North, Pretoria, Randburg, Germiston, Boksburg, Brakpan, Kempton Park and Vanderbijlpark;

Western Cape: Cape Town, Wynberg, Mitchells Plain/ Khayelitsha, Paarl, Belville and George;

Eastern Cape: Port Elizabeth, Bizana, Mount Frere, Butterworth, Mdantsane, Zwelitsha and Uitenhage;

Mpumalanga: Nsikazi, Middelburg, Ermelo, Belfast and Nelspruit;

Free State: Bloemfontein and Botshabelo (1 assistant), Phuthaditjhaba and Bethlehem (1 assistant), Welkom and Odendaalsrus (1 assistant), and Kroonstad and Sasolburg (1 assistant);

Northern Cape: Kimberley, Upington and De Aar;

North-West: Vryburg, Kudumane, Taung, Klerksdorp, Rustenburg, Mmabatho and Odi;

KwaZulu-Natal: Durban, Ladysmith, Newcastle, Pinetown, Umlazi, Empangeni, Mtubatuba and Mhlabathini; and

Limpopo Province: Lebowakgomo (Thabamoopo), Tzaneen, Giyani, Thohoyandou, Potgietersrus and Bushbuckridge (Mapulaneng).

Most of these appointed contract Maintenance Investigators have a legal background, or have experience in maintenance courts as volunteers, or are ex-policemen with investigating experience, because the Government wants to make a difference in our courts and our communities immediately. Two week’s training courses are nevertheless provided to them. They will have the following duties: assisting with the tracing of persons liable to pay maintenance; tracing of maintenance defaulters; gathering and securing of information relating to maintenance enquiries and maintenance defaulters; and testifying in court, under the supervision and control of maintenance prosecutors, but also assisting maintenance officers. These duties and functions relate to both an office function requiring administrative and computer knowledge and an outdoor function requiring physical tracing capabilities.

The Department launched a Baseline Costing Study on the Appointment of Maintenance Investigators in March 2002. Out of this research, the last report of which was submitted in December 2002, a whole new Maintenance Court model is being proposed, because appointing Maintenance Investigators alone, will not solve the problems experienced in the Maintenance Courts. A holistic approach is needed, so that maintenance is prioritised as one of the core functions of the Department. This report is being considered and those recommendations that are feasible will be implemented in phases, as soon as funds become available for this purpose. However, the Department will prioritize the permanent appointment of Maintenance Investigators as Public Servants in all Maintenance Courts. Job evaluations and job descriptions of the new post class "Maintenance Investigator" by the Department’s Human Resources Business Unit is already receiving attention.

The Department is convinced that in addressing the progressive realisation of the Department’s objectives to transform the maintenance courts and therefore to improve the maintenance system in the Family Courts, the following benefits will ensue:


The Department is committed to strengthening the protection of vulnerable people in the criminal justice system. In keeping with this commitment, the Child Justice Bill, No. B.49 of 2002, was introduced into Parliament on 8 August 2002 and presented to the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development on 20 February 2003. The Department, supported by the Inter-sectoral Committee for Child Justice, has made presentations which focused on implementation planning and budgetary aspects relating to the Child Justice Bill. In addition to the government briefing to Parliament, public hearings were also held over three days in the last week of February 2003. Several non-governmental organizations and individual experts gave oral submissions, and many written submissions were also received. There was broad support for the Bill. The Portfolio Committee began their deliberations on the Child Justice Bill on 10 March 2003. Redrafting is currently being undertaken by the drafting team.

The process of planning for the implementation of the Child Justice Bill has been very innovative. Firstly, the planning and budgeting process started early in the process of law-making. Each decision made during the drafting and development phase was costed and weighed in terms of cost implication and cost benefit. The Bill was the first one ever to be costed whilst still in development at the South African Law Commission. When the Bill was placed before Cabinet, it was accompanied by an implementation strategy framework. The next step of the planning process looked at what the expected expenditure would be for the first three years of the Bill’s operation. Assisted by the Child Justice Project located in the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, the various Departments have developed a detailed implementation strategy and budget, linked to the Medium Term Expenditure Framework. The end result is a comprehensive document called the "Implementation Strategy and Budget for the Child Justice Bill". The document provides a complete financial and planning picture at any point of the implementation process. This overall picture of the entire child justice system can, at any point of the implementation process, be broken down into cross-sectoral phases or into individual department components that fold out over a time continuum from 2003 to 2005. In the view of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, the approach of planning and budgeting for the Child Justice Bill may serve as a model for every piece of legislation that comes before Cabinet and Parliament in the future.

Specialised Sexual Offences Courts

Regarding the Specialised Sexual Offences Courts, it should be noted that the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development and the Units in the Office of the National Director of Public Prosecutions responsible for Sexual Offences and Community Affairs and the National Prosecuting Service, have established a close working relationship and have developed a National Strategy for the Roll-out of Sexual Offences Courts, so as to prioritise the hearings relating to sexual offences in dedicated Sexual Offences Courts on a Regional Court level.

Fourty Sexual Offences Courts have already been established in crisis areas, although some of them (20) are not fully compliant with the Sexual Offences Courts Blueprint yet. Courts have been dedicated or are in the process of being dedicated to the hearing of Sexual Offences cases, in the following areas: Protea Soweto (4 courts); Welkom; Port Elizabeth; Klerksdorp; Bethlehem; Parow (2 courts); Cape Town; Wynberg (4 courts); Bloemfontein (3 courts); Pretoria (3 courts); Kimberley; Thlabane; Pietermaritzburg; Atlantis; Sebokeng; Thabamoopo; Mmabatho; Umlazi; Thohoyandou; Umtata; Nelspruit; George; Vosloorus; Evander; Inkanyezi; Verulam; Upington; Vredendal; Pinetown; Odi; Kuilsriver; Edenvale; Mankweng (Pietersburg); Paarl; Khayelitsha; Mitchells Plain; Ladysmith; Umtata and Vryheid.

The SOCA Unit had meetings with most Provincial Police Commissioners regarding the problematic issue of withdrawal of sexual offences cases. The Provincial Commissioners have issued instructions to the effect that no sexual offences cases can be withdrawn by anyone other than a prosecutor. Even cases that were filed as ‘undetected’ should be taken to the prosecutor for a decision.

Training of prosecutors, intermediaries, police officials and magistrates takes place regularly and is ongoing. For example, one hundred and eighty (180) Regional Court Magistrates received training from 28 to 30 November 2002 in the Strand on the "Judicial Officer and the Child Witness".


With the extension of sexual offences courts, the use of intermediaries has become more crucial. There is still disparity on the recruitment and utilization of intermediaries. On one hand Judicial Officers are complaining about the quality of services rendered by intermediaries due to lack of training and on the other hand intermediaries are dissatisfied with low tariffs for their allowances which have not been reviewed for the past ten years. To address all these concerns, the Department has conducted a survey on the intermediaries’ services in our courts in order to develop a National Action Plan to address problems experienced. Such tariffs will be reviewed from time to time. In the meantime it has been proposed that the tariffs for daily allowance for intermediaries be increased from R50-00 to R150-00 per day. A National Action Plan is being developed to give guidance on the future utilization of intermediaries.






    As part of the transformation process in government, the Department began examining its functional boundaries in 1994. This process was placed on hold while the Municipal Demarcation Board completed its task of re-drawing municipal boundaries. With the gazetting of the new municipal areas, cabinet requested all government departments to align their service delivery boundaries, wherever possible, to the new political boundaries.

    The re-demarcation of magisterial district boundaries was then re-instituted and carried out at a provincial level by Regional Steering Committees, whose task it was to consult with all stakeholders and examine the boundaries of every magisterial district in each province. Access to courts by all sectors of the population, existing court infrastructure and the need to provide cost effective court services were the guiding principles in this process.

    The National Steering Committee for the Re-demarcation of Magisterial Districts, with wide representation of all stakeholders, considered and approved the nine provincial reports. An important part of the process of finalizing the reports was the development of accurate and detailed maps of each proposed magisterial district. This was done in consultation with the Office of the Surveyor-General and the Municipal Demarcation Board. The intention is that maps that clearly define the boundaries of the district will accompany the proclamations of the new magisterial districts.

    Although two reports were finalized and submitted to the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development for approval, during the October 2002 meeting of the National Steering Committee, the South African Police Service requested the Chairperson to grant them additional time to ensure that the SAPS’s service delivery boundaries are aligned with those being proposed by the Department of Justice. A Task Team was formed to attend to this alignment and the SAPS boundaries together with the proposed magisterial district boundaries were re-examined during a process of consultation with functionaries at ground level to achieve alignment wherever possible. The Municipal Demarcation Board worked closely with the Task Team and scores of adjustments to the maps were carried out.

    From this process the Demarcation Board identified approximately 650 instances nationwide where municipal boundaries need to be amended. These matters are currently being addressed, in consultation with the local authorities concerned.

    Another technical matter under investigation is the issue of cross boundary municipalities. Cabinet took a decision that these must be done away with and this has been delegated to the Municipal Demarcation Board. Most provinces are affected by cross boundary municipalities, with Mpumalanga and Limpopo being the two provinces most affected.

    Both issues namely the technical alignment of boundaries as well as the cross boundary municipalities will be finalized by the end of June 2003, where after the recommendations will be presented to Cabinet for approval so that changes can be proclaimed before the end of September 2003. In order to adequately prepare for the forthcoming elections, no changes to municipal boundaries will be made after September 2003. These two issues have a direct impact on the proposed boundaries of the provinces, and hence on the proposed magisterial district boundaries, and until these issues have bee resolved the Department’s reports on re-demarcation of magisterial districts can not be finalized. The preparation of the reports will however continue, and it is anticipated that all nine reports will be submitted to the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development for approval shortly after September 2003.


    Under the chairmanship of the Chief Justice (and with the participation of the high court judges) a new Superior Courts Bill is receiving attention in order to rationalize the various high courts in the country and rectify the discrepancies and legacies we inherited in this regard and to bring the court structure in line with the Constitution. Much progress has been made in this regard, including the formulation of proposals for the rationalization of the labour courts.

    We are moving towards getting rid of a fragmented system and have established as policy that no new courts should be established outside the existing court structure. This does not exclude the establishment of focus or specialist areas within the court structure (for example, sexual offences courts as a special priority area – although they remain normal regional criminal courts).

    Once the high courts have been dealt with, the lower court structure will receive attention in consultation with the lower court judiciary.



    The Interim Rationalisation of Jurisdiction of High Courts Act, 2001 (Act No 41 of 2001), has been passed to, among others, enable us, acting after consultation with the Judicial Service Commission, to alter the area of jurisdiction for which a High Court has been established.  The aim of the Act is to promote as a matter of urgency, the efficiency of and equity relating to the administration of justice throughout the whole of the Republic.

    To give effect to the legislation, the Director-General:  Justice and Constitutional Development, requested the Judges President of the various High Courts to take the initiative.  Provincial teams were accordingly established.  The teams comprised the respective Judges President, Directors of Public Prosecutions and Regional Heads of the Department.  The task teams were guided by criteria such as access to justice, utilisation of resources, constitutional imperatives, availability of resources, suitability of areas of jurisdiction, financial implications, and disparities in the old demarcation system.

    After the various Task Teams completed their investigation they made proposals regarding the alteration of the areas of jurisdiction of the High Courts which was provided to the Judicial Service Commission, in respect of those areas in which sufficient consensus have been reached by the role players.  The Commission agreed with the proposals contained in the document.  In the meantime further discussions with the various roleplayers are continued in an attempt to generate as much consensus as possible in relation to other areas.


    Notices have been prepared which reflect the recommendations agreed upon by the Judicial Service Commission and have been forwarded for consideration by Parliament. 




    Regarding the re-alignment of regional courts, it was previously deemed necessary that the process of the re-demarcation of the magisterial district boundaries as well as the rationalization of the high courts needs to be finalised first before the realignment of the Regional Court Division could be finalised, due to the fact that districts and sub-districts will be merged, causing that new districts are created.  Regional divisions are created by grouping districts or sub-districts together.


    However, in view of the urgency of the matter the Department has decided that there is no reasonable justification to hold back the process any further.  Consequently nine Regional court (one per Province) will be established during 2003. There are already such divisions in 7 Provinces with 2 provinces being serviced from the others. Funds will be allocated during 2003 to now also establish Regional Court President Offices in the Limpopo and Mpumalanga Provinces and to ensure proper regional court divisions there. In the interim the Regional Court President, Johannesburg, will assist in the Limpopo Province and the Regional Court President at Pretoria will attend to the 5 districts within his area plus the Mpumalanga Province.


    In principle it has been decided to increase the jurisdiction of the regional courts to include civil matters. Proposals in this regard has been drafted but the Department has indicated that in view of budgetary constraints this can only be implemented during the next financial year. The rationalisation of the lower courts will also have an influence on this process.


    During 2002, eighteen (18) new judges have been appointed permanently and currently other new appointments are also in the process.


    During the year under review the Department has managed to consolidate Registers of advocates admitted in the former TBVC States and the former RSA into one Register. We now have one Roll of Advocates.



    Three new Small Claims Courts have been established for the past year in rural areas and a further two during 2003 till now. The establishment of Small Claims Courts is attributable to the voluntary service from commissioners who deserve a word of appreciation for their service to the communities. The Department is attending to problems that are experienced by commissioners in particular in the execution of their duties and meetings have been held with various role-players in order to discuss ideas and problems. As a result of these meetings, at least two Small Claims Courts (who previously had commissioners resigning and the Small Claims Courts closing down) are functioning again smoothly. Information on the establishment of Small Claims Courts and the appointed Commissioners, will soon be appearing on the Department of Justice’s Website.

    The aim is to increase the jurisdiction of the small claims courts during 2003 and announcements in this regard will be made shortly.

  4. Court Management Information Systems

    There are currently three initiatives aimed at improving the information systems for courts, both at the courts themselves, and at national office for management purposes. These are the IJ Court Centres, the Court Management Information System (Court MIS) and the Court Operations Centre (Court Ops Centre).


    The IJ Court Centre project is a joint initiative between the Business Unit: Court Services, the National Prosecuting Authority and Business Against Crime. The aim of the project is to improve the way that the criminal justice role players in the court environment (i.e. the prosecution, the police, correctional services and probation services) prepare cases for trial and manage dockets and cases at court. The project is an interim semi-automated solution to improving court efficiency, pending the implementation of the fully-automated Court Process Project.

    The project has been implemented at 37 district courts in provinces throughout the country. The project makes provision for the capture of docket information on a simple, user friendly computer system, the generation of court rolls and the tracking and monitoring of the progress of cases in the system. Management reports can be drawn off the system to indicate, for example, the number of cases that have been on the roll for excessive periods of time, the reasons for the postponement of cases and the number of cases involving juveniles.

    The greatest impact of the project has been the reduction in case preparation cycle time, which is measured from the date of first appearance to the date that a case is scheduled for trial. The project statistics, which are submitted by each court and monitored on a monthly basis, show that the average case preparation cycle time has declined from 110 to 74 days. This means that when the Business Unit started with the project, the participating courts were taking on average 110 days to prepare a case for trial. This period has been reduced to 74 days, due to the improved co-operation between the role players, the closer working relationship between the prosecution and the police and the close scrutiny of dockets before hearings. Other project gains have been in the area of court hours, which improved on average from 4 hours and one minute to 4 hours 30 minutes, and the number of cases disposed of, which increased on average from 305 to 366 cases per court per month.

    The intention is to implement the project at a further 36 district courts during the (2003/2004) financial year.


    The Business Unit: Court Services is acutely aware of the need for accurate and useful management information relating to courts. The lack of information (such as on the physical, human and financial resources available to courts) to form a sound planning base for courts has for some time been recognized as a shortcoming in the effective management of courts. Information on court performance itself is needed to determine whether the minimum standards of service delivery are being met.

    One of the key deliverables of the Business Unit is to fill the current gap that exists in the availability of court information. The identified strategy to achieve this goal was the establishment and maintenance of a Court Operations Centre (commonly referred to as a "war room" for courts), which aims, inter alia, to consolidate, analyze and present information relevant to the court system in a user friendly format. The centre will endeavor to present a visual picture of the current service delivery situation in respect of courts, which will be supported by relevant databases. It is envisaged that the Court Ops Centre will become an indispensable tool of the management function of the Department through the generation of a variety of regular and ad hoc reports.

    During December 2002 the Business Unit formed a partnership with Business Against Crime, the CSIR and to establish the Court Ops Centre. Even though the establishment of the Court Ops Centre is still at an early stage, the project is structured in such a way that a limited capacity for the gathering and analysis of information is already in place. The main source of the information is the data that is collected on a monthly basis by the National Prosecuting Service. Reports have been produced each month since January 2003 (four reports in total). These reports examine various aspects of court productivity, with the most recent report identifying the 29 "worst" performing and the 20 "best" performing courts. By identifying specific courts that are not performing to minimum standards, the intention is to institute corrective measures to assist such courts to improve their standards of service delivery.


    One of the tools that will be used by the Court Operations Centre is the Management Information System for Courts (known as the Court MIS). The Court MIS will also become an important tool for local managers in the court environment to proactively manage their resources. The Court MIS is considered to be a way to harness the large volumes of information about courts that is available, but scattered throughout the various sectors of the justice environment. The Business Unit: Court Services, in partnership with Business Against Crime, requested the CSIR to develop a user friendly, web-based computer program that allows the capture a range of information about each court in one data base, and produces useful management reports based on the information.

    The Court MIS that was subsequently developed covers aspects such as the geographic location of the court, the human resource establishment, the physical infrastructure available to the court and the state of the court buildings, and the productivity of the court. The information is enhanced by the production of performance reports, that analyse the available information and compares the productivity of courts in a cluster. This facilitates the development of court performance benchmarks. The Court MIS has been piloted on a demonstration basis using all the lower criminal courts in the Southern Gauteng cluster.

    Following an evaluation of the system, it was decided that the pilot would be extended to include the courts in the rest of Gauteng, all the courts participating in the IJ Court Centre project, and the courts in KwaZulu-Natal included in the Re aga Boswa project. Currently, the information about these courts that is needed to "populate’ the system is being collected. It is envisaged that during the current (2003/2004) financial year, the Court MIS will be operational in the courts described above.

    The management reports that can be generated by the Court MIS will answer questions such as what is the average court time needed to finalise a case; what is the average personnel cost per finalised case; and how much court time is needed to finalise the outstanding court roll? Answers to these and other management questions will place court managers in a better position to effectively utilise the court resources at their disposal.


    While the above initiatives, such as the IJ Court Centre Project, that aim to automate the collection of court information are in place, the Business Unit: Court Services continues to collect certain information manually from the courts on an annual basis. Known as the Annual Return, the information provides a global picture of the activities performed at district, regional and high courts and covers aspects such as criminal case work, civil case work, family court matters (domestic violence, maintenance, divorces and children’s court enquiries), inquests, appeals, small claims court, assessors, interpreting, estates, vote account transactions, deposit account transactions and revenue. This information is used to determine, inter alia, the workload of the total court environment in order to set guidelines for the number of posts to be created.

    The manual collection of information also includes special surveys, such as the survey dealing with the impact of appeals on the administration of justice, which was instituted on 1 June 2002 to provide evidence in support of an amendment to the Criminal Procedure Act.


In addition to what was stated above regarding the re-engineering of court services and Re aga boswa, it should be noted that the Department has made progress during the past year with regard to Sub-offices identified as unsatisfactory as far as work performance and service delivery were concerned.  Progress was also made in respect of addressing Sub-offices with financial management problems.  Further attention was given to the "Adopt a Court Project" where managers at National Office visited Sub-offices in order to identify and solve operational problems that adversely affect the efficiency of the courts and provide suitable and flexible problem solving models for addressing current and future problems in courts.  An example of the above-mentioned interventions occurred at Magistrate’s Office Brits.  In this instance, a senior administrative official (stationed at National Office) with many years in court administration assisted the personnel at that office on a weekly basis for a lengthy period and provided continuous "hands on" training on all aspects of court administration. 


Saturday and Additional courts have been introduced as a temporary measure to reduce the number of cases on the court roll. This has had considerable success. The main objective in the long run, however, is to increase the productivity of courts and to clear the backlogs.



Community participation in the administration of Justice is crucial. Presently, Magistrates are still exercising their discretion to appoint community representatives in their benches. Although an Act of Parliament has been passed to make it imperative for Magistrates to sit with Lay-Assessors in certain cases, due to financial constraints, its implementation is planned to be in phases. The idea is to implement the Act country-wide when funds are available. In the meantime, the Act is planned to be implemented during 2003 in Gauteng, Western Cape and Eastern Cape.


To a large extent, members of the public rely on interpreting service to follow court proceedings. A process of transforming court interpreting service is under way. Court Interpreters are playing a major role in our Justice system as they serve as both the ear and the voice of participants in the Justice system. Their conditions of service are being reviewed. New initiatives are being implemented to ensure their representation in the management structure of the Department. The use of foreign interpreters will now be properly regulated and the availability of interpreting service on a daily basis will be ensured in each court. A programme of capacity building regarding interpreters will be introduced to ensure quality interpreting service. Above all, their conduct will be regulated by a Code of ethics to enhance the decorum and the dignity of courts in which they serve.


We have embarked on the transformation of the sheriffs profession and substantial progress has been made in this regard. To ensure quality service, the principle of competition in the Sheriffs’ Profession is now also being implemented. As a start the following offices have been designated as areas in which more than one Sheriff may be appointed and published in Government Notice No. R.212 dated 14 February 2003:



The Department's budget allocation for capital works for the 2002/03 financial year was R211, 138 million. In order for certain major works projects to be able to be proceeded with, an additional amount of R60 million was allocated by National Treasury. The full amount of R271 138 000 was spent, meaning this was the largest ever amount to be spent on capital works in the Department in a single financial year.

The efficient spending of the new budget for 2003/04 of R229 million in respect of capital works and R35 million in respect of upgrading of infrastructure will be actively pursued.


The Department has delivered the following new courts:

• Botshabelo - a new court building in the Free State with 5 new court rooms.

• Queenstown - additions to the existing building comprising inter alia 6 new court rooms.

• Khayelitsha - a new court building on the Cape Flats with 13 new court rooms, offices, a cash hall and a cell block.

• Blue Downs - a new court building in the district of Kuils River in the Western Cape with 8 new court rooms, offices, a cash hall and a cell block.

• Patensie - a new periodical court with 1 court room and offices in the district of Hankey.

• Kroonstad - additions to the existing building comprising 3 court rooms and offices.

• Khutsong - a new branch court with 1 court room and offices in the district of Carletonville.

• Johannesburg - 3 new courts and offices in the CBD for the regional court for specialised commercial crime cases. (The former Perm building in Eloff Street has been converted).

• Mobile courts have been placed at Randburg, Kathlehong, Orlando, Pretoria North, Diepsloot, Westonaria, Odi, Hammanskraal, Vredendal, Tembisa, Mamelodi, Hermanus, Leeu-Gamka, Butterworth and Uitenhage as an interim measure to alleviate pressure on existing facilities and for sexual offences courts.

• Peddie - repair of fire damaged part of the building as well as additional accommodation.

• Middeldrift - New Building.

Three additional criminal courts and five judges' chambers in the Palace of Justice for the Pretoria High Court have been refurbished.

Building projects at Atteridgeville and Sasolburg have unfortunately been delayed due to the liquidation of the building contractors. New contractors have subsequently been appointed.

A library building has been converted into accommodation for the Southern Circuit of the High Court at Ramsgate in KwaZulu-Natal.


New court buildings / additions to existing buildings at Atamelang, Bothithong, Sebokeng, Centane, Tshidilomolomo, Port Elizabeth, Nelspruit, De Aar, Pretoria North, Benoni, Boksburg, Tembisa and Scottburgh as well as Atteridgeville and Sasolburg, are in construction. The construction of the new Constitutional Court building in Johannesburg is progressing as planned. The expected completion date is November 2003.


In addition to the projects indicated supra, construction of a new building at Randburg and additions at Ceres will start shortly.


Fifty three offices have been identified for the Repair and Maintenance Programme (RAMP), of which the first twenty are in execution.

Numerous minor works and planned maintenance services have been and are being carried out in rural and previously disadvantaged areas.

An amount of R40 million has been spent on furniture, office machines, court recording equipment and sexual offences court systems at courts.

Apart from the continuation of ongoing building projects to be overseen, the acquisition of sites, briefing of architects and actual planning of major projects such as Madadeni (new building), Ekangala (new building), Daveyton (additional accommodation), Thabong (community safety centre), Ntuzuma (new building) and Polokwane High Court (conversion and refurbishment) are to be attended to.


During 2002/03 amounts of R40 million and R18 million were allocated respectively for security services and were divided into the projects indicated below:




Guarding services.


R20 711 652-48

One hundred and twenty nine (129) offices are guarded on a twenty four hours basis per day countrywide. A total of 451 private security guards are being provided by private security companies. The monthly expenditure on this project is R1 813 865-30. The total cost of this project is R22 996 383-60 to protect our courts.

Protection of the Judiciary – Western Cape.

R3 335 311-34

As a result of continuous dramatic incidents which heightened the sense of many court officials and citizens that the courthouse is no longer a safe place eg shooting of Mr Tienie Langenhoven, more pressure was placed on the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development by the judiciary etc to provide static, in transit, residence and other forms of security measures in our courthouses. Thirty two (32) houses of members of the judiciary (Judges) were installed with full packages of physical security measures in the Western Cape during the year 2002.

Cash in transit.


R1 618 573-86

184 Offices countrywide are receiving a cash in transit services from the private security companies. The estimated cost per month for this service is R564 000-00. The total expenditure for 2002/ 2003 is R8 007 452-04.

Supply and installation of security equipments.


R11 262 285-00

Fourty two (42) x-ray machines to the amount of R11 202 285-00 were purchased, supplied and installed in our courts.

Monitoring of alarm systems.

R960 000-00

136 Offices are equipped with alarm systems. Private security companies are monitoring these systems.

Installation of security measures – Judge Jali – Kwazulu-Natal.

R150 000-00

Judge Jali is presiding over the Jali Commission on a matter dealing with corruption in the Department of Correctional Services. He has received a lot of threats due to the sensitivity of the work that he is doing.

Installation of security fence and lighting.

R9 million

An amount of R9 million has been transferred to Department of Public Works for the installation of physical security measures such as fencing and lighting in our courts during this financial year.

Purchase of a vehicle for the protection of Judge President Hlophe – Western Cape.

R85 177-32

There was a need for the in transit protection of the Judge President and as such a vehicle was bought for him.



The total amount requested for security services in this financial year was R415 m but the amount that could be allocated is R45 million. The inadequate budget is insufficient to provide all the required security measures in our courts. More funds are required in order to meet the minimum security standards in our courthouses.

The total number of offices that requires to be installed with security measures is in the region of 700, but only ±200 offices are secured at this stage. This means that many of our courts around the country have poor or no security at all. This is a serious risk to the Department, staff members, the Judiciary, Magistrates, Prosecutors and members of the public who are visiting our offices on a daily basis.

A security audit is almost on its final draft stage and it will be finalised at the end of May 2003. In this report, all the shortcomings regarding court security will be identified and the recommended solutions will be translated into security plans that will seek to address these problems immediately, in the medium and the long term. A security strategy of the Department together with other policy guidelines in respect of the protection of information, personnel, infrastructure and equipments against potential threats of aggression will be developed this year.

A summary of the security projects to be implemented additionally in line with the allocated funds for 2003/ 2004 is as follows:




  1. Guarding services
  2. Cash in transit
  3. Alarms
  4. Monitoring of alarms
  5. X-ray machines
  6. Walkthrough metal detectors
  7. Hand held metal detectors
  8. Protection of the Judiciary – KZN
  9. Uniform for Security
  10. Security awareness programme








24 Judges



R10 800 000-00

R11 000 000-00

R1 200 000-00

R70 000-00

R3 900 000-00

R2 000 000-00

R1 000 000-00

R4 000 000-00

R1 100 000-00

R1 000 000-00



R41 460 000-00




The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development continues to be threatened by a variety of risks, which are aimed at the court officials, members of the Judiciary, member of the public, buildings, property and information. As part of the total counter intelligence process, steps or actions need to be taken on the terrain of physical security, not only to defend against these threats but also to limit the damage in case of an incident (which may include a breach of security of any kind), and to facilitate the eventual investigation into the incident.

These steps or actions include, among others, the following:

It is important to note that the abovementioned actions are all part of an integrated process of which the components can be discerned but not separated.

In order to deliver all the abovementioned services in our work environment, additional resources remain a critical catalyst.



  2. Though measures were instituted to help address financial mismanagement and corruption in the department at the various offices, continuous attention hereto will remain a priority of the department. The hotline remain an important measure in this regard and is being utilized by the Inspectorate to follow up allegations.


The budget variance that will be dealt with relates to the figures for the year ending 31 March 2003 and is based on the following report relating to Court Services that was drawn on 22 May 2003 by the Budget Division in the Office of the CFO:

Financial year 2002/03


Base 80 budget received

Actual expenditure



1 137 532 000

1 270 556 371

(133 024 371)


136 253 000

153 245 009

(16 992 009)


40 976 000

47 606 213

(6 630 213)


56 713 000

71 511 784

(14 798 784)

Land and buildings

271 138 000

271 191 031

(53 031)

Prof and Specs

157 101 000

117 299 961

39 801 039


52 295 000

60 021 003

(7 726 003)


1 852 008 000

1 991 431 372

(139 423 372)



Programme 1

Budget projection per programme for 2003/2004





Standard Item



TOTAL 2003/2004






1 970 000





23, 746,000



16, 000



Equipment: current




Equipment: Capital




Professional and Special











R 144,199, 000




Standard items








Equipment: Current


Equipment: Capital


Capital Works


Professional and special services






Grand total for programmes

1 and 2

R 2,064,372,000

Please note that the budget of R2,064,372.000 excludes the Improvement of Conditions of Service (ICS) for 2003/2004.

For Business Planning purpose the budget allocation of the Court Services Business Unit has been allocated under two main programmes, namely:

The Administration Programme is divided into three sub-programmes namely:

The various projects have been clustered under the three sub programmes. The table below shows the projects which have been clustered under the three sub programmes and the budget allocation in respect of each sub programme:

Sub Programmes

Improvement of Court Performance

Implementation of Legislation and Protection of vulnerable groups

Facilities & Infrastructure

Budget Allocation per sub programme






R82 258 000

(R80 m additional funding from Treasury plus R2 258 000 allocated for the Court MIS)

R58 000 000

(R40 m additional funding from Treasury plus R10m for impl of legisl plus R8 m from DG’s policy reserve for equality courts)

R309 740 000

(R229 m for capital works, R35 m for renovations and maintenance and R45 m for security)

Projects per sub programme

Improvement of Court Performance

Implementation of Legislation and Protection ofvulnerable groups

Facilities & Infrastructure

12 projects

8 projects

4 projects

Re aga boswa

Sexual Offences Courts

Major Capital works

Case Flow Management

Domestic Violence

Renovations and maintenance programme (RAMP)

Court Managers

Family Courts

Court security

Integrated Justice Court Centres

Equality Courts

Printing & stationery

Witnesses, assessors and Intermediaries tariff increases

Child Justice Bill and One Stop Child Justice Centres


Court Interpretation

Lay Assessors


Court Management Information System

Maintenance Investigators


Saturday and Additional courts

Family Advocates Services


Rationalisation of High Courts and re-demarcation of magisterial districts




High court researchers




Judicial support

-judges secretaries





Add creation of regional crt mag posts



Business Plans have been drawn for each project with time frames and clear deliverables.


Our challenge over the next three years is to sustain and enhance the current court support service delivery system while changing to new ways doing things at the same time. The degree of change will mean a major shift in the way we think and carry out our business. We also need to improve court performance and service delivery.

However, it needs to be pointed out that almost all courts, especially lower courts are experiencing the following capacity constraints:

On the positive side and to deal with these constraints as well as the objectives of the Business Unit, various interventions have been made and are continuing. The following warrant mentioning:

The Business Unit: Court Services is ready and able to continue assisting the Department in achieving its goals and mission and will during 2003 continue to provide an enabling environment for the provision of swift, accessible and economic legal redress to all customers of the courts.