DEPARTMENT: JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT
REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA

BUSINESS UNIT: COURT SERVICES

BACKGROUND REPORT

Visits to Eastern Cape, Gauteng,
KwaZulu-Natal and Northern Province

by

Members of the Justice Portfolio
and NCOP Select Committees


For enquiries regarding the factual content of this report contact Dr Lorraine Glanz, tel. (012) 315-1559; fax (012) 315-1626; cell 082 465 4344; e-mail
lglanz@justice.gov.za

CONTENTS

Page

1 INTRODUCTION
1

2 GEOGRAPHICAL BACKGROUND 2

2.1 Provincial size 2
2.2 Population distribution 3
2.2.1 Population size 3
2.2.2 Population group 4

3 SOCIO-ECONOMIC FACTORS 5

3.1 Rural composition 5
3.2 Levels of illiteracy 6
3.3 Unemployment 7
3.4 Income 8

4 THE CRIME PICTURE 9

5 DISTRIBUTION OF COURTS 14

5.1 Introduction 14
5.2 The distribution of the district courts 17
5.2.1 Geographical distribution of courts 17
5.2.2 Distribution of courts according to population size 20
5.3 The cluster system for the district courts 22

6 THE WORK LOAD OF THE COURTS 23

7 COURT EFFICIENCY 34

7.1 Court efficiency information for the country as a whole 34
7.2 Court efficiency information per province 36
7.3 The most recent case backlog information 40

8 FINANCIAL RESOURCES 41

8.1 The Department’s total budget 41
8.2 The budget for the Administration of Courts 43
8.3 Budget for Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Northern
Province 45

9 BUILDING PROGRAMME 47

9.1 Building projects completed 47
9.2 Building projects in progress 48
9.3 Buildings in the planning stage 48

10 HUMAN RESOURCES 50

11 INITIATIVES CURRENTLY UNDERWAY 54

11.1 Court Process Project 54
11.2 Managing the awaiting trial prisoner problem 55
11.3 Specialised courts 57
11.3.1 Sexual offences courts 57
11.3.2 Family courts 57
11.3.3 Commercial crime courts 58
11.4 IJS Court Centres 58
11.5 Dealing with case backlogs 59
11.6 The re-demarcation of magisterial district boundaries 61

12 CONCLUSION 62

FIGURES

Page

Figure 1: Area (square kilometres) covered by each province 2
Figure 2: Population size of each province 3
Figure 3: Population group by province 5
Figure 4: Rural population by province 6
Figure 5: Persons with no schooling by province 7
Figure 6: Unemployed persons by province 8
Figure 7: Employed persons earning R500 per month or less by province 9
Figure 8: Rate of violent crime by province 11
Figure 9: Rate of social fabric crime by province 12
Figure 10: Rate of property-related crime by province 13
Figure 11: Fifteen most commonly-reported serious crimes 13
Figure 12: Distribution of magisterial districts by province 16
Figure 13: Distribution of district courts by province 18
Figure 14: Area (square kilometres) per court (all district courts) 20
Figure 15: Population per court (all district courts) 22
Figure 16: Number of criminal cases recorded per court 32
Figure 17: Number of civil cases recorded per court 33
Figure 18: Number of hours worked per court 33
Figure 19: Average court hours per court, by province: November 2000 39
Figure 20: Number of cases outstanding on the roll, by province:
November 2000 39
Figure 21: Average case backlog per court, by province: November 2000 40
Figure 22: Budget allocated to district courts, per court (all district courts) 46
Figure 23: Magistrates posts, by province 52
Figure 24: Prosecutors posts, by province 53

TABLES

Page


Table 1: Population density of each province 4
Table 2: Distribution of regional courts 14
Table 3: Geographical distribution of the lower courts 19
Table 4: Distribution of lower courts according to population size 21
Table 5: Distribution of lower courts according to number of cases recorded
and hours worked 31
Table 6: Selected court efficiency information for the country as a whole:
District courts 35
Table 7: Selected court efficiency information for the country as a whole:
Regional courts 35
Table 8: Selected court efficiency information by province: District courts 36
Table 9: Summary of expenditure trends and medium term expenditure
estimates 42
Table 10: Departmental budget by standard expenditure items 41
Table 11: Summary of the expenditure trends and medium term expenditure estimates for Programme 2: Administration of Courts 44
Table 12: Budget for Programme 2, by standard expenditure items 43
Table 13: Budget for Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Northern Province 46
Table 14: Summary of approved establishment 49
Table 15: Approved establishments of Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal
and Northern Province 50

1 INTRODUCTION

The Justice Portfolio Committee of the National Assembly and the Select Committee of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) plan to visit courts and other justice-related offices throughout the country as part of the committees’ oversight programme. The first visit, scheduled for 23 to 26 April 2001, will include Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Northern Province. Visits to the remaining provinces will be conducted at a later date.

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (hereafter "the Department") was requested to compile a background report for members of the Justice Portfolio and NCOP Select Committees (hereafter "members of the Committees"), to give them an overview of various aspects of the functioning of courts, the administration of justice, and the work of the Department.

The report firstly, places the provinces to be visited in the geographical context of the country as a whole, and describes some of the socio-economic factors that impact on access to courts and service delivery. It then presents a brief overview of the crime picture in South Africa, since the level of crime influences the number of criminal cases processed by the courts. The report discusses the number and distribution of both the regional and district courts, gives and exposition of the court cluster system for district courts, and gives some information on the workload of the district courts. It provides insight into the question of court efficiency, by presenting a selection of the court information that is collected by the National Prosecuting Authority. The report gives a brief overview of the financial and human resources available to the Department, and describes the programme in place to upgrade existing, and to construct new, court buildings. Finally, the report briefly describes some of the initiatives that are currently underway in many courts throughout the country to improve service delivery.

2 GEOGRAPHICAL BACKGROUND

2.1 Provincial size

Although the land area of South Africa totals 1 219 090 square kilometres, the area covered by each province is vastly different. This is depicted in Figure 1 below. As can be seen from the graph, the provinces to be visited by members of the Committees range from the smallest (Gauteng) to the second largest (Eastern Cape) in terms of size.

Figure 1: Area (square kilometres) covered by each province


2.2 Population distribution

2.2.1 Population size

Not only are there vast provincial differences in respect of size, these differences can also be seen in relation to population distribution. This is shown in Figure 2 below. Members of the Committees will be visiting courts in the four largest provinces as measured by population size.

Figure 2: Population size of each province


Naturally, when population size is considered together with land area, one is able to obtain a clear indication of population density. This is given in the Table 1 below. Clearly, Gauteng experiences the greatest population density, being nearly five times greater than the next most densely populated province, namely KwaZulu-Natal. The table shows that the four provinces to be visited by members of the Committees have not only the highest pure population numbers, but are also the four most densely populated provinces.

Table 1: Population density of each province


Gauteng


KwaZulu-Natal


Northern Province


Eastern Cape


Mpuma-langa


Western Cape


North West


Free State


Northern Cape


South Africa


432


91


40


37


35


31


29


20


2


33



2.2.2 Population group

In terms of service delivery, it is important to consider the distribution of South Africa’s population in the nine provinces, according to population group. This gives one a clear indication of where the greatest needs are experienced in relation to addressing the imbalances of the past - particularly in respect of historical inequalities in the distribution of services and resources.

The distribution of the population, per province, by population group, is given in Figure 3 below.

Three of the four provinces to be visited by members of the Committees have the greatest proportions of "Black" (African, Coloured and Indian) residents of all the provinces (Northern Province = 97%; Eastern Cape = 94%; KwaZulu-Natal = 93%). Black South Africans comprise 76% of the population in Gauteng.

Figure 3: Population group by province




3 SOCIO-ECONOMIC FACTORS

3.1 Rural composition

In the context of the provision of services, particularly to those most disadvantaged, it is important to look at the urban/rural composition of the population of each province. The proportion of the population classified as rural in each province is shown in Figure 4 below. The provinces to be visited by members of the Committees range from the most rural (Northern Province = 89%) to the most urban (Gauteng = 3%).

Compared to their urban counterparts, residents in rural areas are generally at a disadvantage in terms of access to infrastructure such as transport. However, service delivery in urban areas has demands of its own, such as higher overall levels of crime and violence. This consideration notwithstanding, the rural composition of the population is an important factor to consider when examining access to justice.

Figure 4: Rural population by province


3.2 Levels of illiteracy

The proportion of persons aged 20 years and older with no schooling is given per province in Figure 5 below. This is used as a measure of the level of illiteracy in each province. Noting illiteracy levels is important when making courts user-friendly. While Northern Province has the highest level of illiteracy (37%), the level in KwaZulu-Natal is also high (23%).

Figure 5: Persons with no schooling by province


3.3 Unemployment

The proportion of persons between the ages of 15 and 65 years who are classified as unemployed is given in Figure 6 below. The level of unemployment in a province gives one an indication of the general financial well-being and access to financial resources of residents in the province. This is an important consideration when addressing service delivery. The three provinces with the highest levels of unemployment are included in the provinces to be visited by members of the Committees (Eastern Cape = 49%; Northern Province = 46%; KwaZulu-Natal = 39%). Gauteng has an unemployment rate of 28%.

Figure 6: Unemployed persons by province


3.4 Income

Linked to unemployment is the variable income. The census information provides only individual monthly income of employed persons aged between 15 and 65 years. For this discussion, the proportion of persons earning R500 per month or less is used to give an additional indication of access to financial resources. This information is given per province in Figure 7 below. Provinces differ substantially in terms of the average monthly income of the employed. While 40% of the employed in the Northern Province earn R500 per month or less, 15% of the employed in Gauteng are in a similar category. It is interesting to note that although the unemployment rate is highest in the Eastern Cape, residents in that province who are employed earn higher salaries than the employed in four other provinces.

Figure 7: Employed persons earning R500 per month or less by province



4 THE CRIME PICTURE

The court case load handled at criminal courts throughout the country is directly affected by the number of crimes reported to the police. The extent of crime in South Africa will be briefly analysed in this section. It is not the intention to present a comprehensive picture of the crime situation: space permits only a brief overview of the major crime trends, with a particular focus on the four provinces to be visited by members of the Committees.

The South African Police Service (SAPS) generally only reports on the incidence of the most serious types of crime, as indicated by the types that are most frequently reported at police stations. This amounts to 20 crime types, which at present account for 99% of all reported crime.

For this analysis, the following methodological comments should be noted:

Five broad crime categories have been developed by the Crime Information Analysis Centre (CIAC) of the SAPS namely, violent crime, social fabric crime, property-related crime, violence aimed at property (such as malicious damage to property) and crimes heavily dependent on police action for detection (such as drug-related offences). Data in respect of only the first three categories will be presented here.

The crime information that is presented relates to 1999, being the most recent statistics available.

The analysis is based on crime rates, which are the number of crimes recorded, divided by the population for the relevant area. This figure is then expressed as a rate per 100 000 of the population. The advantage of using crime rates rather than crime numbers is that comparisons across provinces can be made, since the impact of population size is taken into account.

The distribution of violent crime in South Africa during 1999 is given in Figure 8 below.

The rate for South Africa as a whole is 348 violent crimes per 100 000 of the population. However, the rate for Gauteng (744) is almost double that of KwaZulu-Natal (402). The Northern Province has the lowest rate of violent crime (94), while Eastern Cape has a rate of 217 incidents per 100 000 of the population.

Figure 8: Rate of violent crime by province


In respect of what is termed social fabric crime, the picture is quite different. This can be seen in Figure 9 below.

The rate of social fabric crime is extremely high in the Northern Cape (2 821), where it is more than double the rate for the country as a whole (South Africa = 1 230 social fabric crimes per 100 000 of the population). KwaZulu-Natal (773) and Northern Province (807) have the lowest rates of social fabric crime.

Figure 9: Rate of social fabric crime by province


Lastly, the distribution of property-related crime can be seen in Figure 10 below.

The rate for South Africa as a whole was 3 253 reported incidents of property crime per 100 000 of the population. The rate in Gauteng is the second highest (5 359), while the Northern Province has a relatively low rate of property crime (1171). The rate is also low in the Eastern Cape (2 279).

In the last graph in this section (Figure 11), the crime picture for the country as a whole is given in order that one may make an assessment of the problem of crime in general in the four provinces to be visited. Again, the information is in respect of 1999.

Figure 10: Rate of property-related crime by province


Figure 11: Fifteen most commonly-reported serious crimes




From Figure 11 it is evident that as far as the 15 most commonly-reported serious crimes are concerned, the Western Cape has the greatest crime problem. Of the provinces to be visited by members of the Committees, Gauteng accounts for 17% of the total crime picture, KwaZulu-Natal 9%, the Eastern Cape 8%, and Northern Province a mere 5%.

5 DISTRIBUTION OF COURTS

5.1 Introduction

There are currently 14 High Courts in South Africa and nine Divisions of the Regional Court (Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Kimberley, Mmabatho, Port Elizabeth, Pretoria and Umtata). There are approximately 365 regional courts sitting on any given day, although this number is not constant. The Regional Court Presidents (marked "P" in the table), together with the magistrate’s offices at which regional courts sit, and the number of regional courts, are given in Table 2 below.

Table 2: Distribution of regional courts


Regional Court Presidents/courts


No. of courts


Regional Court Presidents/courts


No. of courts


Regional Court Presidents/courts


No. of courts


Bisho
Mdantsane
Zwelitsha


-
2
3


Bloemfontein (P) (P)
Bethlehem
Heilbron
Kroonstad
Welkom


8
3
1
2
5


Cape Town (P)
Bellville
George
Goodwood
Mitchells Plain
Oudtshoorn
Paarl
Somerset West
Worcester
Wynberg


6
5
2
2
2
2
3
1
1
5


Durban (P)
Empangeni
Eshowe
Ladysmith
Newcastle
Pietermaritzburg
Pinetown
Port Shepstone
Scottburgh
Stanger
Verulam
Vryheid


17
4
2
2
2
6
2
2
2
1
3
1


Giyani


4


Johannesburg (P)
Benoni
Boksburg
Germiston
Heidelberg
Kempton Park
Klerksdorp
Krugersdorp
Nigel
Portchefstroom
Randburg
Randfontein
Roodepoort
Springs
Vanderbijlpark
Vereeniging


32
3
2
4
1
3
3
2
1
1
1
1
3
2
2
2


Kimberley (P)
Upington
Vryburg


5
1
1


Mdutjana


3


Mmabatho (P)
Moretele
Odi
Molopo
Taung
Mankwe


-
2
3
3
1
2


Port Elizabeth (P)
East London
Queenstown
Grahamstown
Uitenhage


10
4
1
2
1


Pretoria (P)
Britz
Ermelo
Evander
Lydenburg
Middelburg
Nelspruit
Nylstroom
Pietersburg
Potgietersrus
Rustenburg
Tzaneen
Witbank


16
1
2
1
1
3
3
1
4
1
1
2
1


Thohoyandou/
Sibasa


5


Umtata (P)
Butterworth
MountFrere


-
4
1



With regard to district courts, there are 369 magisterial districts throughout the country, in which 718 district courts are situated. The distribution of the country’s 369 magisterial districts, by province, is given in Figure 12 below.

Figure 12: Distribution of magisterial districts by province


While Gauteng has the least number of magisterial districts (23), the Eastern Cape has the greatest number (80). Clearly, the number of districts in a province is related to geographical size. However, the population size to be served in a province is also taken into account when determining the number of magisterial districts. The Northern Cape illustrates this point: although this province is the largest geographically, it has the smallest population to serve, and is therefore divided into only 26 magisterial districts.

As indicated above, a total of 718 district courts are functioning in the 369 magisterial districts. The courts are either main courts, branch courts, detached offices or periodical courts.

5.2 The distribution of the district courts

For many reasons - many of which can be ascribed to our country’s past political dispensation - South African citizens do not have equal, physical (geographical) access to courts. Residents in one area may have to travel much greater distances to reach the nearest court than residents in another area; and this situation may be equally present in urban and rural areas. In this section, the geographical distribution of courts will be described. It should be noted that the analysis is based on the distribution of district courts throughout the country (i.e. regional and high courts have been excluded), since it is the lower courts that are visited most often by ordinary citizens. At such courts, services in the area of civil justice are accessed, or hearings in the lower criminal courts are attended. Since in excess of 90% of all criminal cases are heard in the lower courts, and due to space limitations, it was considered that the examination of the physical distribution of the district courts would give an adequate general view of the physical access to justice.

As indicated above, there are various types of district courts: main, detached, branch and periodical. According to the information at hand, both civil and criminal services are rendered at all of these types of courts, except at periodical courts, where only criminal cases are heard. In the analysis to follow, therefore, a distinction will be made between the (1) total number of lower courts; (2) the number of main, detached and branch courts; and (3) the number of periodical courts. The distribution of the total number of lower courts by province can be seen in Figure 13 below.

In the discussion to follow, the distribution of the lower courts is analysed firstly, according to area and secondly, according to population.

5.2.1 Geographical distribution of courts

An analysis of the geographical distribution of courts gives the reader an idea of the distances that members of the public in each province are required, on average, to travel to access court services. Although the information is given per square kilometre, since this is the standard manner in which geographical area is measured, it nonetheless gives one an idea of the distances involved. Information relating to the geographical distribution of courts is contained in Table 3 below. The information contained in the table is also given graphically (Figure 14) for convenience.

Figure 13: Distribution of district courts by province


It should be pointed out that the comparison of the total number of lower courts per province should be approached with caution: courts differ greatly in terms of the number of actual courts sitting at each court. Naturally, provinces with vast geographical areas to cover (such as the Eastern Cape) will have a greater number of courts than those with a small geographical area to cover (such as Gauteng); this can be seen in Figure 14. However, the actual number of court rooms in total in such provinces may be on a par, or even greater in densely populated provinces (such as Gauteng).

Table 3: Geographical distribution of the lower courts



Variable


Province



South Africa


Eastern Cape


Free State


Gauteng


KwaZulu-Natal


Mpuma-langa


Northern Cape


Northern Province


North West


Western Cape


Area (square km)*


169 580


129 480


17 010


92 100


79 490


361 830


123 910


116 320


129 370


1 219 090


Main, detached and branch courts


89


72


50


79


49


34


38


35


58


504


Periodical courts


29


8


10


28


24


17


45


29


24


214


Total lower courts**


118


80


60


107


73


51


83


64


82


718


Number of square km per court: Main, detached and branch courts


1 905


1 798


340


1 166


1 622


10 642


3 261


3 323


2 231


2 419


Number of square km per court: All district courts


1 437


1 619


284


861


1 089


7 095


1 493


1 818


1 578


1 698




Notes: * Source: Statistics South Africa - 1996 census
** Source: Directorate: Administration of Courts and Community Justice

Figure 14: Area (square kilometres) per court (all district courts)



5.2.2 Distribution of courts according to population size


Analysing the distribution of courts according to population size gives one an idea of the number of persons per court for whom court services must be provided - in other words, such an analysis shows the pressure placed on the courts in each province to "service" its residents. This information is given in Table 4 and in Figure 15 below.

Figure 15 shows that the distribution of courts according to population size also varies considerably by province. While the courts in the Northern Cape serve 16 477 persons per court, the figure for Gauteng is 122 474. Again, the above comment regarding differences in the actual number of courts sitting within each court is relevant. The four provinces to be visited by members of the Committees have the highest population distribution per court of the nine provinces.

Table 4: Distribution of lower courts according to population size



Variable


Province



South Africa


Eastern Cape


Free State


Gauteng


KwaZulu-Natal


Mpuma-langa


Northern Cape


Northern Province


North West


Western Cape


Population*


6 302 525


2 633 504


7 348 423


8 417 021


2 800 711


840 321


4 929 368


3 354 825


3 956 875


40 583 573


Main, detached and branch courts


89


72


50


79


49


34


38


35


58


504


Periodical courts


29


8


10


28


24


17


45


29


24


214


Total lower courts**


118


80


60


107


73


51


83


64


82


718


Population per court: Main, detached and branch courts


70 815


36 576


146 968


106 545


57 157


24 715


129 720


95 852


68 222


80 523


Population per court: All district courts


53 411


32 919


122 474


78 664


38 366


16 477


59 390


52 419


48 255


56 523



Notes: * Source: Statistics South Africa - 1996 census
** Source: Directorate: Administration of Courts and Community Justice


Figure 15: Population per court (all district courts)


5.3 The cluster system for the district courts

In view of the fact that the Director-General of the Department and the Minister are no longer in a position to give direct instructions to magistrates (as a result of the independence of the office of magistrate in 1993), it became necessary to institute the cluster system. The system, instituted by the Magistrates Commission, consists of a pyramid-like structure within each province. The purpose of the cluster system is to ensure a certain degree of control of district magistrates by senior magistrates, and of senior magistrates by the heads of clusters (chief magistrates).

Naturally, the cluster system in no way encroaches on the judicial independence of magistrates since no direct or indirect pressure may be exerted on the judgement of magistrates. The purpose of the control is to ensure effective functioning within the clusters, and control covers matters such as the keeping and gathering of court statistics, training, reviews, and decisions relating to who presides in which court and where.

An exposition of the 13 clusters is given in the following seven pages. The heads of the clusters are as follows:

Eastern Cape A: Mr P R Rothman Free State A: Mr T J Raulinga
Eastern Cape B: Mr D S Ncapayi Free State B: Mr J M Fourie
Gauteng: Mr M C Bashe KwaZulu-Natal A: Mr R E Laue (Acting)
Mpumalanga: Mr D D Ngobeni KwaZulu-Natal B: Mr DSV Ntshangase
Northern Cape: Mr C Bezuidenhout Northern Province: Mr B van Wyk
Western Cape A: Mr A J Jooste North West: Mr LI Morule (Acting)
Western Cape B: Mr J van Reenen

6 THE WORK LOAD OF THE COURTS

The decision to establish a certain number of courts in an area or a province would naturally be influenced by the number of cases that need to be heard in that area. Examining the relationship between the distribution of courts and the court case load is an important indicator of the public’s access to courts. Since information analysed in this section is obtained from the Department’s hand-based (manual) court information system, the analysis should be approached with caution (manual information systems are always subject to bias arising from human error). Furthermore, the data is in respect of the 1998/1999 (July to June) recording year, and is the most recent available.

Table 5 below gives an indication of the number of criminal cases recorded (less admissions of guilt, since these do not proceed to trial); the number of civil cases recorded; and the number of hours worked at all district courts. This information enables one to determine the number of criminal cases per court, the number of civil cases per court and the number of hours worked per court (the reader is reminded of the fact that it is the total number of hours worked per court for the 1998/99 reporting year). For the convenience of the reader, selected information is also presented graphically in Figures 16 to 18.


JUDICIARY: EASTERN CAPE A





PORT ELIZABETH
CHIEF MAGISTRATE
43 sub-offices











UITENHAGE
(Senior Magistrate)

Kirkwood
Jansenville
Steytlerville
Willowmore
Joubertina
Graaff-Reinet
Aberdeen
Hankey
Humansdorp



GRAHAMSTOWN
(Senior Magistrate)

Middelburg (Cape)
Alexandria
Adelaide
Bedford
Cradock
Port Alfred/Bathurst
Somerset East
Pearston



ZWELITSHA
(Senior Magistrate)

Alice
Peddie
Middeldrift
King Williamstown
Stutterheim
Keiskammahoek
Fort Beaufort
Cathcart



MDANTSANE
(Chief Magistrate)

Komga
East London



QUEENSTOWN
(Senior Magistrate)

Sterkstroom
Steynsburg
Venterstad
Tarkastad
Hofmeyr
Burgersdorp
Seymour
Whittlesea
Ntabethemba
Molteno






JUDICIARY: EASTERN CAPE B





UMTATA
CHIEF MAGISTRATE
36 sub-offices











UMTATA
(Chief Magistrate)

Tsolo
Qumba
Elliotdale
Libode
Mqanduli
Ngceleni
Elliot
Maclear
Engcobo



UMZIMKULU
(Chief Magistrate)

Bizana
Mount Fletcher
Maluti



LUSIKISIKI
(Chief Magistrate)

Maxesibeni
(Mount Alyliff)
Tabankulu
Flagstaff
Port St Johns
Mount Frere



LADY FRERE
(Chief Magistrate)

Barkley East
Cala
Indwe
Sterkspruit
Cofimvaba
Dordrecht
Lady Grey
Aliwal North
Jamestown



BUTTERWORTH
(Chief Magistrate)

Willowvale
Idutywa
Centani
Nqamakwe
Tsomo


JUDICIARY: FREE STATE A





BLOEMFONTEIN
CHIEF MAGISTRATE
35 sub-offices










BLOEMFONTEIN 1
(Senior Magistrate)

Bloemfontein
Boshof
Dealesville
Botshabelo
Brandfort



BLOEMFONTEIN 2
(Senior Magistrate)

Bethulie
Edenburg
Fauresmith
Jacobsdal
Jagersfontein
Koffiefontein
Petrusburg
Phillippolis
Reddersburg
Springfontein
Trompsburg



PHUTHADITHJABA
(Senior Magistrate)

Phuthadithjaba
Ficksburg
Fouriesburg
Harrismith
Kestell
Makwane
Tseki
Tsetseng



THABA NCHU
(Senior Magistrate)

Thaba Nchu
Clocolan
Dewetsdorp
Excelsior
Hobhouse
Ladybrand
Marquard
Roucville
Smithfield
Wepener
Zastron



JUDICIARY: FREE STATE B





WELKOM
CHIEF MAGISTRATE
32 sub-offices










WELKOM 1
(Senior Magistrate)

Bothaville
Bultfontein
Hertzogville
Hoopstad
Odendaalsrus
Wesselsbron



WELKOM 2
(Senior Magistrate)

Welkom
Henneman
Theunissen
Ventersburg
Virginia
Winburg



KROONSTAD
(Senior Magistrate)

Kroonstad
Edenville
Heilbron
Koppies
Parys
Petrus Steyn
Sasolburg
Steynsrus
Viljoenskroon
Vredefort



BETHLEHEM
(Senior Magistrate)

Bethlehem
Frankfort
Lindley
Memel
Paul Roux
Reitz
Senekal
Villiers
Vrede
Warden



JUDICIARY: KWAZULU-NATAL A





DURBAN
CHIEF MAGISTRATE
31 sub-offices











EMPANGENI
(Senior Magistrate)

Mtubatuba
Enseleni
Hlabisa
Ongoye (Esikawini)
Mtunzini



STANGER
(Senior Magistrate)

Maphumulo
Greytown
Kranskop
Ndwedwe



VERULAM
(Chief Magistrate)

New Hanover
Mphumalanga
Camperdown
Entuzuma
Pinetown



UMLAZI
(Senior Magistrate)

Chatsworth
Umbumbulu
Scottburgh
Emzumbe
Vulamehlo
Richmond



PORT SHEPSTONE
(Senior Magistrate)

Ixopo
Ezingolweni
Kokstad
Harding
Matatiële








JUDICIARY: KWAZULU-NATAL B





PIETERMARITZBURG
CHIEF MAGISTRATE
36 sub-offices











NONGOMA


Louwsburg (Ngotshe)
Simdlangentsha
Ubombo
Ingwavuma
Paulpietersburg
Pongola



NQUTA


Melmoth
Babanango
Eshowe
Nkandla
Inkanyezi
Mahlabatini



NEWCASTLE
(Senior Magistrate)

Madadeni
Vryheid
Utrecht
Dannhauser
Glencoe
Dundee



LADYSMITH
(Senior Magistrate)

Bergville
Emnambithi
Estcourt
Colenso
Weenen
Msinga
Okhahlamba
Dukuzu



HLANGANANI
(Senior Magistrate)

Mooi River
Mpendle
Howick
Underberg
(Himevaille)
Vulindlela



JUDICIARY: GAUTENG





JOHANNESBURG
SPECIAL GRADE CHIEF MAGISTRATE
24 sub-offices











RANDBURG
(Chief Magistrate)

Krugersdorp
Randfontein
Oberholzer
Roodepoort
Westonaria



GERMISTON
(Chief Magistrate)

Alberton
Vanderbijlpark
Vereeniging
Heidelberg
Meyerton



PRETORIA
(Chief Magistrate)

Cullinan
Bronkhorstspruit



KEMPTON PARK
(Chief Magistrate)

Springs
Brakpan
Nigel
Benoni
Boksburg



WONDERBOOM
(Chief Magistrate)

Soshanguve




JUDICIARY: MPUMALANGA




NELSPRUIT
SENIOR MAGISTRATE
38 sub-offices













EERSTEHOEK
(Sen Magistrate)


Amsterdam
Ermelo
Breyten
Carolina
Morgenson
Piet Retief
Wakkerstroom



EVANDER
(Highveld Ridge District)
(Sen Magistrate)

Secunda
Leslie
Balfour
Delmas
Bethal
Amersfoort
Standerton
Volksrust



BARBERTON
(Sen Magistrate)



Lydenburg
Belfast
Waterval-Boven



MDUTJANA
(Siyabuswa)
(Sen Magistrate)

Mkobola
Mbibane



NSIKASI
(Sen Magistrate)


Witrivier
Nkomasie
Sabie
Graskop



WITBANK
(Sen Magistrate)


Kriel
Ekangala
Moutse



MIDDELBURG
(Sen Magistrate)



Groblersdal
Hendrina
KwaMahlanga















JUDICIARY: NORTHERN PROVINCE





PIETERSBURG
SENIOR MAGISTRATE
36 sub-offices












SESHEGO
(Sen Magistrate)

Bochum
Phalala
Mokerong
Potgietersrus



THOHOYANDOU
(Chief Magistrate)

Dzamani
Mutale
Messina
Louis Trichardt
Tshilwavhusiku
Giyani



NYLSTROOM
(Sen Magistrate)

Warmbad
Thabazimbi
Naboomspruit
Ellisras



RITAVI
(Sen Magistrate)

Namakgale
Lulekani
Mmala
Phalaborwa
Tzaneen
Naphuno
Mapulaneng



MALAMULELE
(Sen Magistrate)

Hlanganani
Vuwani
Tshitale
Sekgosesse
Bolobedu



THABAMOOPA
(Sen Magistrate)

Nebo
Sekhukhuniland
Praktiseer
Mankweng




JUDICIARY: NORTHERN CAPE




KIMBERLEY
SENIOR MAGISTRATE
35 sub-offices









KIMBERLEY
(Senior Magistrate)

Barkley West
Hartswater
Warrenton
Douglas
Hopetown
De Aar
Britstown
Colesberg
Hanover
Noupoort
Jan Kempdorp
Phillipstown
Richmond



SPRINGBOK
(Senior Magistrate)

Port Nolloth
Williston
Sutherland
Fraserburg
Calvinia
Garies
Carnarvon



UPINGTON
(Senior Magistrate)

Kuruman
Postmasburg
Prieska
Victoria West
Kenhardt
Keimoes
Groblershoop
Kakamas
Pofadder
Kathu
Olifantshoek
Griekwastad




JUDICIARY: NORTH WEST





ODI
CHIEF MAGISTRATE
29 sub-offices











KLERKSDORP
(Senior Magistrate)

Wolmaranstad
Bloemhof
Schweizer Reneke
Christiana



POTCHEFSTROOM
(Senior Magistrate)

Ventersdorp
Coligny
Lichtenburg
Delareyville
Ditsobotla
Fochville



MORETELE
(Chief Magistrate)

Mankwe
Koster
Brits
Ottosdal



BAFOKENG
(Chief Magistrate)

Swartruggens
Zeerust
Lehurutshe
Madikwe
Rustenburg



MMABATHO
(Senior Magistrate)

Taung
Ganyesa
Kudumane
Vryburg



JUDICIARY: WESTERN CAPE A





CAPE TOWN
CHIEF MAGISTRATE











BELLVILLE
(Chief Magistrate)

Stellenbosch



MALMESBURY
(Senior Magistrate)

Van Rynsdorp
Vredendal
Clanwilliam
Vredenburg
Hopefield
Laaiplek



PAARL
(Senior Magistrate)

Wellington
Tulbagh
Wolseley



WORCESTER
(Senior Magistrate)

Ceres
Laingsburg
Montagu
Robertson
Ladismith



ATLANTIS
(Senior Magistrate)

Porterville
Piketberg
Moorreesburg




JUDICIARY: WESTERN CAPE B





WYNBERG
CHIEF MAGISTRATE












MITCHELLS PLAIN
(Chief Magistrate)

Simonstown



GOODWOOD
(Sen Magistrate)


Strand
Somerset West



KUILSRIVIER
(Sen Magistrate)


Caledon
Grabouw
Hermanus
Bredasdorp



GEORGE
(Sen Magistrate)


Uniondale
Knysna



MOSSEL BAY
(Sen Magistrate)


Riversdale
Heidelberg
Albertinia
Swellendam
Bonnievale



OUDTSHOORN
(Sen Magistrate)


Prince Albert
Beaufort West
Murraysburg
Calitzdorp



Table 5: Distribution of lower courts according to number of cases recorded and hours worked



Variable


Province



South Africa


Eastern Cape


Free State


Gauteng


KwaZulu-Natal


Mpuma-langa


Northern Cape


Northern Province


North West


Western Cape


Criminal cases, less admissions of guilt, recorded: 1998/99*


108 601


97 501


78 918


46 929


70 668


22 397


86 769


80 246


73 151


655 180


Civil cases recorded: 1998/99*


130 429


153 387


612 914


233 450


59 496


42 682


68 242


97 650


304 300


1 882 550


Hours worked at all district courts: 1998/99*


93 627


53 524


115 217


102 381


53 869


21 925


68 749


50 778


158 004


718 074


Number of main, detached and branch courts


89


72


50


79


49


34


38


35


58


504


Number of periodical courts


29


8


10


28


24


17


45


29


24


214


Total lower courts**


118


80


60


107


73


51


83


64


82


718


Criminal cases, less admissions of guilt, recorded per court: All district courts


9203


1 218,8


1 315,3


4386


9681


4392


1 045,4


1 253,8


8921


9125


Civil cases recorded per court: Main, detached and branch courts


3 488,0


2 130,4


12 258,3


2 955,1


1 214,2


1 255,4


1 795,8


2 790,0


5 246,6


3 735,2


Number of hours worked per court: All district courts


7935


6691


1 920,3


9568


7380


4299


8283


7934


1 926,9


1 000,1



Notes: * Source: Division: Statistics of the Branch: Corporate Services
** Source: Directorate: Administration of Courts and Community Justice

Gauteng has the greatest number of criminal cases recorded per court (1 315, or 16% of all criminal cases), while KwaZulu-Natal has the least (439, or 5% of all criminal cases). Gauteng also has by far the greatest number of civil cases recorded per court (12 258, or 37% of all civil cases). This is more than twice the number of civil cases per court recorded by the province with the next highest number namely, Western Cape. Clearly, Gauteng is the seat of civil litigation in the country.

The interpretation of number of hours worked per court must be approached with extreme caution, since the courts differ greatly in respect of their size (i.e. in respect of the actual number of court rooms per court). In terms of number of hours worked per court, Western Cape ranks first, with 1 927 hours per court. After Western Cape, the four provinces to be visited by members of the Committees recorded the greatest number of hours per court.

Figure 16: Number of criminal cases recorded per court



Figure 17: Number of civil cases recorded per court


Figure 18: Number of hours worked per court



7 COURT EFFICIENCY


The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) collects a comprehensive set of information relating to the performance and efficiency of the courts. Although the information is collected manually, strict control is maintained by the control prosecutors in each cluster to ensure that the information is as accurate as possible. The offices of the Directors of Public Prosecutions are the nodal point for the collection of NPA statistics. The categorisation of the information is therefore per High Court division. Each division is then divided into a number of clusters (some 31 in total). These clusters do not coincide with the cluster system that has been developed by the Department. However, from the information available, and by re-organising the clusters, it is possible to present a provincial picture of the information collected by the NPA.

The information collected by the NPA is collated on a monthly basis, and covers inter alia the following: The number of courts in each cluster; the number of court days; the total number of court hours; the average court hours per court; the number of cases withdrawn; the number of cases finalised with a "guilty" verdict; the number of cases finalised with a "not guilty" verdict; and the number of case outstanding on the court roll.

7.1 Court efficiency information for the country as a whole

Information relating to the months of September, October and November 2000 is given in Tables 6 and 7 below. Table 6 relates to the district courts, and Table 7 to the regional courts. The NPA advised that although the information is already available, it is not useful to present the information in respect of December 2000 and January 2001, since these two months are not "normal" months in respect of court functioning (because of the holiday season stretching over December and January), and will give the reader a skewed picture of the efficiency of courts.

It should be noted that the number of district courts reflected in Table 6 below does not correspond with the total number of district courts, since courts that function with a single prosecutor are excluded from the analysis. These courts are reflected separately by the NPA, and are not included here due to space constraints. The exclusion of these courts is due to the fact that single-prosecutor courts are mostly situated in deep rural areas, where, more often than not, a full court roll is the exception rather than the norm. The inclusion of court efficiency information in respect of these courts would create bias in the country-wide picture. The information in respect of periodical district courts as well as periodical regional courts are also excluded from Tables 6 and 7.

Table 6: Selected court efficiency information for the country as a whole: District courts




Month


Num-ber of courts


Num-ber of court days


Total court hours


Average court hours


Cases with-drawn


Cases finalised with a verdict


Out-stand-ing court roll


Hrs


Mins


Hrs


Mins


Guilty


Not guilty


September


494


9 087


36 674


31


4


2


21 363


13 911


3 007


86 127


October


488


9 879


39 055


48


3


57


23 691


14 121


3 224


86 808


November


475


9 564


38 440


39


4


1


22 720


13 005


3 950


81 011



Table 7: Selected court efficiency information for the country as a whole: Regional courts




Month


Num-ber of courts


Num-ber of court days


Total court hours


Average court hours


Cases with-drawn


Cases finalised with a verdict


Out-stand-ing court roll


Hrs


Mins


Hrs


Mins


Guilty


Not guilty


September


228


3 420


13 416


2


3


55


2 800


1 532


867


37 906


October


234


3 976


15 211


20


3


50


3 022


1 590


1 048


37 870


November


228


4 019


15 306


56


3


49


2 802


1 654


918


39 759



The average number of hours per court per day is quite similar for district and regional courts, with district courts sitting approximately four hours per day, and regional courts, slightly less than four hours. Of the cases tried in the district courts (i.e., excluding cases withdrawn), a guilty verdict is obtained in, on average, 80% of cases. This figure is 63% in the case of the regional courts. The more serious nature of the cases tried in regional courts may account for this difference.

As at the end of November 2000, the total number of cases outstanding on the roll in district courts - including periodical district courts and single prosecutor district courts - stood at 111 948 (this figure is not reflected in the table). The total number outstanding on the roll in the regional courts - including periodical regional courts - at the end of November 2000 stood at 48 154 (also not reflected in the table).

7.2 Court efficiency information per province

Detailed information on court efficiency in each province is given in Table 8 below. Due to space constraints, the information relates only to the district courts (excluding single-prosecutor courts and periodical district courts), and contains only the items "average court hours per court", and "outstanding court rolls". For the reader’s convenience, the information for the month of November 2000 is given graphically in Figures 19 to 21.

Table 8: Selected court efficiency information by province: District courts




CLUSTER


SEPTEMBER


OCTOBER


NOVEMBER


Average court hours



Outstand-ing court roll


Average court hours



Outstand-ing court roll


Average court hours



Outstand-ing court roll


Hrs


Mins


Hrs


Mins


Hrs


Mins


North West (Bophuthatswana Division)


Mmabatho


3


14


1 961


3


26


1 761


3


20


1 539


Odi


3


34


2 100


3


25


2 178


3


35


2 258


Total / average


3


25


4 061


3


25


3 939


3


29


3 797


Eastern Cape (Ciskei, Transkei and Eastern Cape Divisions)


Ciskei


3


52


1 901


3


43


1 745


3


48


2 071


Butterworth


3


46


1 965


3


26


2 031


3


52


2 141


Umtata


3


29


2 639


3


15


1 685


4


15


2 303


East London


4


0


2 403


4


11


2 229


4


8


2 062


Port Elizabeth


4


16


1 701


4


1


1 836


4


10


1 639


Queenstown


3


13


467


2


56


451


2


15


522


Total / average


3


56


11 056


3


44


9 977


3


59


10 738


Western Cape (Cape Provincial Division)


Bellville


4


51


3 933


4


53


3 648


5


0


3 337


Cape Town


4


26


4 941


4


33


4 695


4


27


5 015


George


4


45


2 215


4


42


2 205


4


46


1 870


Wynberg


4


8


4 005


4


25


4 042


4


13


4 078


Total / average


4


26


15 094


4


35


14 490


4


30


14 300


Free State (Free State Division)


Bethlehem


4


17


1 972


4


8


2 070


4


4


2 267


Bloemfontein


4


13


3 347


3


53


3 351


3


55


3 139


Total / average


4


15


5 319


4


2


5 421


4


0


5 406


Northern Cape (Northern Cape Division)


Northern Cape


4


8


2 355


4


21


2 307


4


5


2 163


Total / average


4


8


2 355


4


21


2 307


4


5


2 163


KwaZulu-Natal (Natal Provincial Division)


Durban


3


56


3 052


3


23


3 825


3


17


4 116


Empangeni


3


44


1 413


3


31


884


3


37


810


Lady Smith


3


35


2 446


3


36


2 343


3


17


2 450


Pietermaritzburg


4


3


2 895


3


55


3 037


4


28


3 071


Pinetown


3


59


5 268


3


46


5 061


3


45


4 211


Port Shepstone


4


18


699


3


53


910


3


55


877


Total / average


3


55


15 773


3


41


16 060


3


43


15 535


Gauteng (Witwatersrand Local Division and part of Transvaal Provincial Division)


Klerksdorp


4


12


2 071


4


4


2 003


4


11


2 096


Pretoria


4


25


3 531


4


11


4 266


4


24


3 368


Vaal Triangle


4


15


4 549


4


7


3 409


3


59


2 782


Johannesburg/
Witwatersrand


4


14


6 097


4


15


7 057


4


18


5 874


North East Rand


4


12


2 892


4


29


3 951


4


24


2 841


Total / average


4


16


19 140


4


15


20 686


4


17


16 961


Mpumalanga (part of Transvaal Provincial Division)


Middelburg


3


54


2 756


3


48


2 985


3


55


2 963


Nelspruit


3


45


1 373


3


39


1 308


3


59


1 513


Total / average


3


50


4 129


3


45


4 293


3


57


4 476


Northern Province (part of Transvaal Provincial Division)


Nylstroom


3


16


2 434


3


20


2 560


3


13


2 611


Pietersburg


3


43


4 856


3


11


5 359


3


34


3 358


Venda


4


8


1 890


4


19


1 616


3


26


1 666


Total / average


3


39


9 180


3


23


9 535


3


24


7 635




Figure 19 shows that the Western Cape had the greatest average number of hours per court during November 2000 (4,5 hours per court). In respect of the provinces to be visited by members of the Committees, the Northern Province had the smallest average number of hours per court (3,4), while Gauteng had the second greatest (4,28).

Figure 20 reflects the total number of cases outstanding on the roll, by province. Since the number of cases outstanding is the function of the number of courts in a province, this graph is supplemented with a third graph (Figure 21) which shows the average case backlog per court, per province. Again, the information is in respect of November 2000. These two graphs show that while Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal had the greatest total number of cases outstanding on the court roll, they did not have the highest average number of cases outstanding per court; this was experienced in the Western Cape. Northern Province had the second highest number of cases outstanding per court (196 per court).

Figure 19: Average court hours per court, by province: November 2000


Figure 20: Number of cases outstanding on the roll, by province: November 2000




Figure 21: Average case backlog per court, by province: November 2000


7.3 Most recent case backlog information

In addition to the above detailed court efficiency information relating to September, October and November 2000, the most recent information in respect of case backlogs is as follows:

The national average for outstanding district court rolls is approximately 170 cases per court.
There are 304 district courts for which the court roll is in excess of the above national average.
District courts are on average finalising only 29 cases per court per month.

In the following 16 district courts, the court roll stands at more than 300 cases per court: Taung = 573; Idutywa = 446; Lusikisiki = 424; Thabankulu = 597; Tsolo = 398; Wentworth = 535; Verulam = 849; Stanger = 640; Umbumbulu = 443; Bellville = 317; Kuilsrivier = 311; Oudtshoorn = 480; Somerset West = 327; Sekukune = 310; Thaba Moapo = 362; and Naphuno = 355.
The regional courts are finalising in total approximately 3 500 cases per month, which is less than 10% of the total outstanding roll (the outstanding regional court roll has remained fairly constant since June 2000 at between 46 000 and 50 000).

8 FINANCIAL RESOURCES

The financial resources available to the Department will be discussed in this section.

8.1 The Department’s total budget

The information contained in Table 9 on the following page is presented to place the Department’s current budget in perspective. This table gives a historical, as well as projected, view of the Department’s financial resources. The budget has increased (over the previous year) as follows: 1998/99 = 10%; 1999/00 = 14%; 2000/01 = 11%; and 2001/02 = 13%. The additional resources are mainly used for the implementation of new legislation.

The Department’s budget for the current (2000/01) and next (2001/02) financial years, presented according to standard expenditure items, is as follows (Table 10, expressed in R thousands):

Table 10: Departmental budget by standard expenditure items


Standard expenditure item


2000/01


2001/02


Personnel


1 638 505


1 749 483


Administration


194 581


267 190


Inventory


63 275


57 709


Equipment


116 794


176 160


Land and buildings


132 049


193 787


Professional and special services


316 036


345 004


Transfer payments


404 704


463 933


Miscellaneous


83 779


71 619


TOTAL


2 949 723


3 324 885


Table 9: Summary of expenditure trends and medium term expenditure estimates (expressed in R thousands)


Programme


Expenditure outcome


Revised estimate


Medium term expenditure estimate


Audited


Audited


Preliminary outcome


1997/87


1998/99


1999/00


2000/01


2001/02


2002/03


2003/04


Administration


221 800


250 786


233 971


296 008


314 393


329 233


343 926


Administration of courts


1 010 874


1 251 295


1 341 443


1 518 760


1 578 924


1 665 089


1 742 090


State legal services


121 693


121 610


135 035


158 790


161 826


169 426


177 467


National Prosecuting Authority


265 593


115 053


156 204


318 872


410 365


481 838


518 927


Auxiliary and associated services


487 418


586 558


786 831


657 293


859 377


867 573


922 493


TOTAL


2 107 378


2 325 302


2 654 384


2 949 723


3 324 885


3 513 159


3 704 903


Change to 2000/01 budget estimate


105 246


227 069


289 572




8.2 The budget for the Administration of Courts

The remainder of the discussion in this section will be focussed on the budget for Programme 2 namely, Administration of Courts. The historical and projected picture of the budget for this Programme is given in Table 11 below.

Programme 2 comprises the following subprogrammes: Constitutional Court; Supreme Court of Appeal; High Courts; Specialised Courts (Labour Appeal, Labour, Land Claims, Special Tribunal and Family Courts); and the Lower Courts. The budget for Programme 2 for the current (2000/01) and next (2001/02) financial years, presented according to standard expenditure items, is as follows (Table 12, expressed in R thousands):

Table 12: Budget for Programme 2: Administration of courts, by standard expenditure items


Standard expenditure item


2000/01


2001/02


Personnel


1 105 767


1 187 801


Administration


115 167


128 407


Inventory


42 243


34 713


Equipment


61 875


53 818


Land and buildings


-


-


Professional and special services


137 058


132 566


Transfer payments


-


-


Miscellaneous


56 650


41 619


TOTAL


1 518 760


1 578 924



From Table 12 it is evident that there has been a mere 4% increase in the budget allocation for Programme 2 between the current (2000/01) and the next (2001/02) financial years.

Table 11: Summary of expenditure trends and medium term expenditure estimates for Programme 2: Administration of Courts (expressed in R thousands)


Subprogramme


Expenditure outcome


Revised estimate


Medium term expenditure estimate


Audited


Audited


Preliminary outcome


1997/87


1998/99


1999/00


2000/01


2001/02


2002/03


2003/04


Current


Capital


Constitutional Court


6 434


6 708


8 538


9 055


8 596


177


9 252


9 680


Supreme Court of Appeal


6 268


6 299


5 605


6 878


5 278


130


5 703


5 967


High Courts


84 241


90 466


99 298


85 278


108 353


1 105


115 431


120 769


Specialised Courts


7 455


8 918


9 975


18 523


11 874


594


13 148


13 756


Lower Courts


906 476


1 138 904


1 218 027


1 399 026


1 399 803


43 014


1 521 555


1 591 918


TOTAL


1 010 874


1 251 295


1 341 443


1 518 760


1 533 904


45 020


1 665 089


1 742 090


Change to 2000/01 budget estimate


27 964


25 503


-


47 192



In the motivation for its budget vote for the next (2001/02) financial year, the Department indicated that the time taken to complete trials has almost doubled over the past five years, with the average time that accused spent awaiting trial being approximately 131 days as at May 2000, compared to 76 days in June 1996. The Department furthermore set the following targets as part of its budget motivation:

Increase in average court hours:
District courts: target of 4 hours (increase of 5%)
Regional courts: target of 4 hours, 15 minutes (increase of 7%)
High courts: target of 3 hours, 18 minutes (increase of 9%)

Increase in cases finalised by prosecutors:
District courts: target of 40 cases per month (increase of 25%)
Regional courts: target of 10 cases per month (increase of 76%)

Decrease in case backlogs on court rolls:
District courts: target of 110 per court (decrease of 8%)
Regional courts: target of 100 per court (decrease of 5%)

Increase in convictions rates per case prosecuted:
District courts: target of 67% (increase of 5%)
Regional courts: target of 81% (decrease of 4%)
High courts: target of 83% (increase of 12%)

8.3 Budget for Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Northern Province

The budget for the current (2000/01) financial year for the four provinces to be visited by members of the Committees is given in Table 13 below. It should be noted that this budget excludes the budget for prosecutorial services in the provinces. As a matter of interest, the budget allocated to the district courts in each province, expressed per court (using the total number of district courts), can be seen in Figure 22. Again, the interpretation of this illustration should be approached with caution since the courts differ greatly in size (and hence, in required resources).

Table 13: Budget for Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Northern Province


Item


Eastern Cape


Gauteng


KwaZulu-Natal


Northern Province


General administration


44 800


490 000


244 100


121 000


Regional offices


27 308 000


6 515 000


12 605 000


15 029 000


High court


14 031 000


28 168 000


14 318 000


2 262 000


District courts


207 904 386


246 280 714


209 344 000


120 301 550


Constitutional court


-


9 055 000


-


-


Specialised courts


1 381 000


8 259 000


1 002 000


925 000


State attorney


8 313 055


35 383 000


9 664 000


1 312 000


Administration of estates


4 734 000


17 429 000


6 482 000


-


Family advocate


838 000


4 148 000


1 119 000


-


Departmental transport


1 165 000


465 000


965 000


765 000


TOTAL


265 719 241


356 192 714


255 743 100


140 715 550



Figure 22: Budget allocated to district courts, per court (all district courts)



It should be noted that one of the priorities of the Department’s recently-appointed Chief Financial Officer is to scrutinise the Department’s entire budget, with a view to re-prioritising the available funds to more adequately meet the resource challenges facing the courts. It is expected that this process will be completed by the end of March 2001. The information relating to the Department’s budget presented above will therefore, in all likelihood, change.

9 BUILDING PROGRAMME

9.1 Building projects completed

Thirty-eight building projects (including new court buildings, additions to existing buildings, and repairs, renovations and conversions of existing buildings) have been completed since 1996. The following were in the provinces to be visited by members of the Committees (none were completed in the Northern Province during the period 1996 to 2000):


Eastern Cape


Nqamakwe (repairs to damaged pre-fabricated building)
Tsomo (additions to existing magistrate’s office)
Maluti (repairs and renovations of the magistrate’s office)
Lady Frere (additions to existing magistrate’s office)
Bizana (additions to existing magistrate’s office)
Sterkspruit (additions to existing magistrate’s office)
Umtata (additions to existing magistrate’s office)
Flagstaff (additions to existing magistrate’s office)
Mqanduli (additions to existing magistrate’s office)
Mount Frere (additions to existing magistrate’s office)
Libode (upgrading and additional accommodation)
Cofimvaba (upgrading and additional accommodation)
Elliotdale (upgrading and additional accommodation)
Engcobo (upgrading and additional accommodation)
Qumbu (upgrading and additional accommodation)
Tsolo (new magistrate’s office)
Willowvale (upgrading and additional accommodation)
Tabankulu (upgrading and additional accommodation)
Ngqeleni (upgrading and additional accommodation)
Queenstown (additional accommodation)


Gauteng


Alexandra (branch court: repairs, renovations and conversions to building)
Soshanguve (upgrading, conversion and security measures)
Pretoria (two court rooms and offices for commercial crime court)
Soweto (branch court: court rooms and offices)


KwaZulu-Natal


Pinetown (new magistrate’s office)
Gamalakhe (conversion of building for branch court)



9.2 Building projects in progress

In addition to the building projects that have been completed, a number of projects are in progress. These are as follows:

Khutsong: Community Safety Centre
Kroonstad: additional accommodation at the magistrate’s office
Khayelitsha: new magistrate’s office building
Nsimbini: Community Safety Centre
Tshidilamolomo: Community Safety Centre
Blue Downs: new magistrate’s office building
Upington: new magistrate’s office building
Bothsabelo: new magistrate’s office building
Sasolburg: additional accommodation
De Aar: additional accommodation
Leboeing: new magistrate’s office building
Centani: new magistrate’s office building
Atteridgeville: new magistrate’s office building

9.3 Buildings in the planning stage

The following building projects are in the planned stage: Peddie, Middeldrift, Bothitong, Atamelang, Thabong (Welkom), Port Elizabeth, Benoni, Tembisa, Randburg, Scottburgh, Malmesbury, Citrusdal, Stanger, and the New Constitutional Court (Braamfontein).

Table 14: Summary of approved establishment


Post category


Ministry


Head office


Eastern Cape


Free State


Gauteng


KwaZulu-Natal


Mpuma-langa


Northern Cape


Northern Province


North West


Western Cape


NDPP


TOTAL


Role playing posts


9


45


9


4


4


7


4


1


4


4


4


0


95


Management echelon


0


76


32


12


69


23


1


5


7


10


25


69


329


Legal posts


0


141


615


328


1 211


767


203


122


293


283


557


144


4 664


Administrative and other posts


13


689


1 649


726


1751


1466


519


224


967


599


840


122


9 565


TOTAL


22


951


2 305


1 070


3 035


2 263


727


352


1 271


896


1 426


335


14 653


10 HUMAN RESOURCES


A summary of the Department’s approved establishment is given in Table 14 on the previous page. The Department has a total of 14 653 approved posts, 951 of which are at its national office, 22 are at the Ministry, 335 are allocated to the NPA, and the remainder are in the provinces.
More detail in respect of the approved establishments of the four provinces to be visited by members of the Committees is contained in Table 15.

Table 15: Approved establishments of Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Northern Province


POST DESIGNATION


EASTERN CAPE


GAUTENG


KWAZULU-NATAL


NORTHERN PROVINCE


Role playing posts


Departmental inspector


6


4


6


3


Labour relations officer


3


-


1


1


Subtotal


9


4


7


4


Management echelon


Chief director


1


1


1


1


Director


3


3


2


2


Chief + principal legal administration officer


2


1


1


1


Director: Public prosecutions


3


3


1


1


Deputy director: Public prosecutions


7


32


8


-


President: Divorce courts, Chief family advocate


1


2


1


-


Chief master, master, senior deputy master: High court


2


2


1



Regional court president


1


2


1


-


Chief + special grade magistrate


6


7


3


1


State + deputy state attorney


6


16


4


1


Subtotal


32


69


23


7


Legal posts


Senior + family advocate


3


9


4


1


Senior + legal administration officer


6


5


4


3


Regional magistrate


32


98


44


1


Senior magistrate


19


33


23


20


Magistrate


200


275


247


119


Master + deputy master: High court


1


5


1


-


Estate controller


17


95


31


-


Chief + registrar: High court


8


29


8


1


Senior + advocate


43


121


35


2


Senior + assistant state attorney


22


87


23


2


Senior prosecutor


15


34


22


3


Prosecutor


249


420


325


141


Subtotal


615


1 211


767


293


Administrative and other posts


Deputy + assistant director


27


13


18


13


Administrative officer


210


60


66


54


Chief + administration clerk


617


644


788


347


Provisioning administration officer + clerk


19


1


15


8


Personnel practitioner + control + chief + principal + personnel officer


30


8


28


18


Chief + inspector of interpreters


4


-


1


1


Principal + court interpreter


212


328


198


103


State accountant + chief + accounting clerk


27


19


24


16


Security administration officer + principal + security officer + security guard


75


164


86


70


Principal + taxation officer


32


-


-


-


Training officer


3


1


2


-


Programmer + network controller


1


-


2


2


Chief + data + dictaphone + typist + court stenographer


128


113


92


59


Secretary + judge’s secretary


40


118


39


23


Librarian + library assistant


5


15


3


1


Chief + registry clerk + registrars clerk


25


127


45


24


Principal + telecom operator


9


25


8


7


Principal + messenger + usher messenger


31


110


47


8


Operator + driver + food services aid + groundsman + general worker + stores keeper + cleaner + labourer


154


5


4


213


Subtotal


1 649


1 751


1 466


967


TOTAL


2 305


3 035


2 263


1 271



For the convenience of the reader, two graphs are given below: Figure 23 depicts the distribution of magistrates posts in the provinces (chief, senior and magistrates, excluding those stationed at national office), and Figure 24 indicates the distribution of prosecutors posts in the provinces (senior and prosecutors, excluding those stationed at the NPA).

Figure 23: Magistrates posts, by province




Figure 24: Prosecutors posts, by province



It should be pointed out that the additional work at magistrate’s offices that has become necessary as a result of, in particular, the implementation of new legislation (such as the Domestic Violence Act, 1998 (Act 116 of 1998) has placed severe pressure on the available human resources at such offices. To alleviate the situation, many courts appointed temporary units to assist with the additional work load. However, the budget for human resources for the 2001/02 financial year appears to be less than that required for the number of approved posts; fewer persons can therefore be employed.

The Department has for some time been involved in a rationalisation process, whereby a work study investigation is conducted at an office and the establishment of the office is adjusted and updated. In some cases (such as in the former independent states), this has meant a downscaling of the establishment. The supernumery staff are then transferred to offices where a staff shortfall has been identified. This process of rationalisation has not been completed. Furthermore, the process of the re-demarcation of magisterial district boundaries, which is currently underway, and which is referred to in a later section of this report, will also impact on the rationalisation of offices.

11 INITIATIVES CURRENTLY UNDERWAY

The Department has a number of initiatives in the courts that are aimed at improving efficiency, access to justice and service delivery. A selection of these are briefly described below.

11.1 The Court Process Project

The present court management system is inefficient, with major bottle necks in the handling of vast numbers of documents and files on a daily basis. This leads to postponements of court hearings and, in some instances, to cases being struck off the roll. In the light of the above, the Court Process Project was developed, approved and funded by the Integrated Justice System as a fast track project.

The project aims to develop a docket management and event notification system between the police, prosecution, courts and prisons. A central aspect of this project is the emphasis on change management. The project will facilitate a management process that will allow officials from each of the departments in the criminal justice system to effectively communicate with each other and manage the relevant process in an integrated manner.

The main objective of the Court Process Project is the re-engineering of the work-flow and business processes which are followed in both criminal and civil cases in magistrates’ courts. The project aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the magistrates’ court system.

The scope of the project is to implement an electronic court administration business solution in Johannesburg and Durban magistrate’s courts (criminal and civil) by the end of April 2001. The project envisages inter alia the following benefits: reduced time to trial; reduction in the number of missing documents; accessible information; reduced paperwork; resource scheduling; timely notification; and data integrity.

Major outputs to date have been the following:

The project charter and the project plan have been developed and are in place.

The proposed electronically-based court system in both the criminal and civil courts has been designed.

The legislative changes needed for the criminal court process have been identified.

Installation at the development sites at Johannesburg and Durban is almost complete.

A human resource training plan has been completed and work on a skills audit in respect of basic computer training needs has started.

An extensive communication strategy is in place to obtain the necessary "buy in" of all role-players.

It is envisaged that the court process project will lead to a reduction in case backlogs; a return of case cycle times to acceptable norms; the reduction in the size of the awaiting trial population; and the institution of an effective management information system.

11.2 Managing the awaiting trial prisoner problem

To deal more effectively with the backlog relating to awaiting trial cases, the Integrated Justice System (IJS) Board approved the launching of an Awaiting Trial Prisoners Project (ATP) during 1999. Pilot sites were established at Durban, Empangeni, Johannesburg, Pietermaritzburg, Port Elizabeth and Pretoria. Local management structures were instituted at each site and an integrated approach to the problem was adopted. Collective actions were identified within the Departments of Justice and Constitutional Development and Correctional Services, and the South African Police Service, to reduce the number of awaiting trial prisoners. All cases are reviewed on an individual basis by a case review team consisting of investigators, prosecutors and correctional services officials.

A change implementation team representing the relevant departments, in consultation with the case review team consolidate recommendations for implementation on a continuous basis. A management team oversees the activities of each pilot project and help solve problems that may arise.

From the information gathered in all the reports, it was discovered that delays in the finalisation of trials causing the over population of prisons by awaiting trial prisoners cannot be attributed to only one department involved in the criminal justice system. Problems leading to delays were identified at each stage of the process of case finalisation.

Following an evaluation of the pilot projects, and the submission of a roll-out document to the IJS Board, the IJS Project Office was requested to brief all provincial managers on the methodology of the project in order that they could decide at which courts and prisons they would establish ATP projects. ATP projects have subsequently been established at the following additional magistrate’s offices: Middelburg, Wynberg (Western Cape), East London, Mdantsane, and Umtata.

The outcome of the ATP projects at the pilot sites can be described as follows:

By the end of March 2000, the average detention cycle time of offenders whose cases had been reviewed was reduced by 40% (i.e. from 122 days to 87 days).

The circumstances of offenders were positively influenced by speeding up trial dates; setting affordable bail; withdrawing cases with no prima facie evidence; and finalising cases sooner.

Problematic issues that came to the fore were addressed on a continuous improvement basis by establishing corrective actions. Examples of these issues are subpoenas not completed properly; incomplete investigations; queries made by the public prosecutor and not complied with; addresses of accused not verified; alibis of accused not followed up; prosecutors not sufficiently prepared for trial; prisoners not brought to court on time; and dockets not sent back timeously for further investigation.

11.3 Specialised courts

11.3.1 Sexual Offences Courts

Special courts dealing with sexual offences were established as a pilot project in Wynberg in the Western Cape in 1993. Due to the success of this project, the Department is expanding the project to other provinces. A National Task Team was established to oversee the extension of the project. New courts with complete facilities for use as sexual offences courts have been built at Pietermaritzburg, Grahamstown, Somerset West, Mossel Bay, Soweto and Atlantis. Apart from this, approximately 180 courts countrywide have been equipped with closed-circuit TV and/or one-way mirrors for the giving of testimony by witnesses in such cases.

The personnel involved in the courts are well trained in methods to deal with the victims and witnesses in these types of cases. Specialised training of prosecutors leads to higher rates of conviction. Cases are handled expeditiously and efficiently and victims are not as reluctant as in the past to testify against perpetrators because of the reduced possibility of intimidation by accused persons and secondary victimisation.

11.3.2 Family Courts

The Department identified the establishment of Family Courts as a priority to address the urgent need in the community for the types of services which are offered by such courts. A Family Court Task Team, appointed by the Minister of Justice in February 1997, recommended the establishment of Family Court Pilot Projects which would begin to address the needs of the community, and would also provide experience to inform the creation of a permanent family court structure. Family Court Centres were established at Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban, Mitchells Plain, LebowaKgomo and Johannesburg.

Family Courts consist of a Divorce Court, Maintenance Court, Children’s Court and a Family Violence Court. The Department envisages a family court structure which -

has its own identity;
is accessible to the community;
is sensitive to the needs of the community;
operates according to simple, appropriate procedures;
offers counselling and mediation support services; and
provides quality service in a pleasant user-friendly environment.

The Pilot Family Courts are monitored on a regular basis. Following evaluation, and subject to the availability of funds, the pilot initiative will be extended to the rest of the country.

11.3.3 Commercial Crime Courts

A special court to deal with cases involving fraud, white collar crime and other types of commercial crime has been set up as a pilot project in Pretoria. The need for specialised commercial crime courts was identified when it became apparent that the backlog in respect of these cases was reaching an unacceptable level. The Investigating Directorate: Serious Economic Offences of the NPA, with the co-operation of the Department, took the lead in setting up the first commercial crime court on 1 November 1999. This initiative is being carried out as a partnership with the business (particularly the banking) community. The success of these courts is being monitored, with a view to the future extension of the initiative to other areas in the country.

11.4 IJS Court Centres

The Integrated Justice System Court Centre concept is an initiative of the IJS Project Office, with the approval of the IJS Board. The rationale of the IJS Court Centres is to provide a single nodal point from where the entire court process is managed, with a view to reducing the average court cycle time of cases.

The IJS Court Centres consist of the following role players:
Experienced public prosecutor;
SAPS investigation official;
Experienced Local Criminal Record Centre official;
Correctional Services official;
Social Development probation officer;
SAPS court liaison official;
Preferably, a public defender; and
Preferably, the control prosecutor.

The functions of the IJS Court Centre are to -

enhance docket and charge sheet control (and thereby minimise corruption);
manage awaiting trial prisoners;
schedule court rolls (the task of the control prosecutor); and
ensure that cases are ready for trial.

Provincial IJS Boards have been requested to identify magistrate’s offices in their province where IJS Court Centres can be established on a pilot project basis. The particular offices to be identified would ideally be those experiencing greater than average problems with case backlogs. An IJS Court Centre has been functioning extremely successfully at Port Elizabeth magistrate’s office for some time, and another has been in operation at Middelburg in Mpumalanga for the past four months. The initiative is also in the final planning stage at Odi magistrate’s office at GaRankuwa.

11.5 Dealing with case backlogs

The Department, in co-operation with the NPA, initiated Saturday courts and established additional courts as an urgent intervention to deal with the unacceptably high level of case backlogs, particularly in the regional courts. As already indicated, the outstanding district court roll is approximately 170 cases per court, and the total outstanding court roll for the regional court is between 46 000 and 50 000 cases.

The initiative has the co-operation of all role players (i.e. the SAPS, the Department of Correctional Services and the legal fraternity), since the running of courts on Saturdays requires the participation of all the usual court officials, including attorneys.

Chief Prosecutors in identified areas were requested to approach the relevant role players to establish if they would be willing to participate in Saturday courts. Funds which could not be utilised by the NDPP before the end of the current (2000/01) financial year were identified for the initiative, and were allocated for the overtime payment for prosecutors, magistrates, stenographers, security personnel and clerks of the court. The Department of Correcitonal Services and the SAPS agreed to cover their own costs.

It was decided that the focus of the Saturday courts would be on the regional courts. In certain isolated cases (such as Heidelberg, Bronkhorstspruit, Humansdorp and Uitenhage), district courts requested to participate in the project. A total of 84 courts in 47 places were operated on Saturdays from 17 February 2001. Over a four Saturday period, these courts sat a total of 1 586,5 hours, with courts averaging five hours per Saturday. This represents an improvement of more than an hour per day on the national average. Only trial matters are dealt with, and postponements or bail applications are not considered.

In addition to Saturday courts, additional courts were instituted for the month of March 2001. Former magistrates and prosecutors were recruited for this purpose. Thirty-eight such courts participated during March 2001, sitting approximately 844 hours (an average of 3h38 per court), and disposing of 244 cases. This is clearly not at the same level of productivity as that of the Saturday courts, but is still an improvement on the average number of cases normally disposed of per week.

The Saturday courts have generally achieved outstanding success and the initiative is being continuously reviewed. Funds will be made available by the Department to cover the costs of the judiciary and clerical staff for the month of April 2001. The NPA has indicated that it has the funds to cover the costs of prosecution for the Saturday courts for the next six months. The Department is in the process of approaching cabinet for funds to extend the project for the next six months. It is hoped that the extension of the project will include district courts.

11.6 The re-demarcation of magisterial district boundaries

As part of the transformation process in government, the Department began examining its functional or service delivery 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, the Department was able to re-institute the process of the re-demarcation of magisterial boundaries.

This process involves the constitution of representative Regional Steering Committees, whose task it is to consult with all stakeholders and examine the boundaries of every magisterial district in each province, with a view to, wherever possible, aligning the boundaries to those of the new municipal areas. The principles according to which this process is being undertaken are the following:

access to courts;
the numbers of people being serviced in an area (i.e. population density);
the prevalence of crime and civil litigation in the area;
existing infrastructure (courts) in an area; and
the need to provide cost-effective services.

Once Regional Steering Committees have completed their review and consultation process, a report containing their recommendations in respect of the boundaries of all magisterial districts in the province will be submitted to a National Steering Committee. The actual boundaries of all recommended magisterial districts will be described with the aid of the latest electronic mapping systems currently in use by the Office of the Surveyor-General. The National Steering Committee will then proceed with the necessary steps to ensure the declaration of the new magisterial districts, with the approval of the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development. It is envisaged that this process will be finalised by June 2001.

12 CONCLUSION

Space constraints make it impossible to present a detailed picture of the activities of the Department, particularly in respect of courts. This report has thus given the reader merely an overview of some of the challenges facing the Department in the administration of justice and the delivery of efficient court services.

The Department is presently in the process of re-organising itself to meet these challenges. There will in future be a dedicated Business Unit (i.e. the Business Unit: Court Services) aimed at improving the support service provided to courts and the judiciary. The re-organisation process has as its ultimate aim improved service delivery at the lowest level. The vision for the future is to place the management and administration of courts in the hands of competent, fully-trained court managers, in order to free-up the judiciary to adjudicate cases and to execute their role as the head of the court.