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Media Statement by the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Adv TM Masutha (MP) on the Budget Vote of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development

09 May 2018

Members of the media,

This afternoon, I will present the 2018/19 Budget Policy Statement of the Department of Justice and Correctional Services to Parliament. The budget will outline the six programme areas of our work as well as those of the entities which report to the department.

Our work is premised on our commitment to deliver Justice to All in furtherance of the values we inherited from the earlier generation of pathfinders who include President Nelson Mandela and Mama Albertina Sisulu whose centenary birthdays we are celebrating this year.

This briefing highlights some of the issues I will cover this afternoon. In this regard, we are:

  • Rolling out significant legislation to ensure that all our laws are within the spirit and letter of the Constitution of the Republic.  In this regard, the Department is spearheading what is known internally as the Renaissance Project which aims to develop a new body of law to bring our legal system which is based on Roman Dutch and English Law, fully in line with the values and spirit of our own Constitution.
  • Working continuously to transform the judiciary to ensure that it reflects the demographics of the country. In this respect, black judges constituted 66% of the 253 judges by October last year. Of these, 34% of judges were women. Last month, the Judicial Services Commission concluded the latest round of interviews for judges’ candidates and are awaiting the President’s decision on the Commission’s recommendations.
  • Deploying more resources despite the budgetary cuts under which we are operating to improve court infrastructure and to build more courts. The construction of the Mpumalanga High Court is 97% complete. Plans are also underway to expand the Durban High Court at a cost of R728 million. The Department will also complete construction of magistrate’s courts in Plettenberg Bay in the Western Cape, Booysens in Gauteng and Dimbaza in the Eastern Cape.
  • We will also upgrade 45 Regional Courts. The upgrades consist of a variety of court infrastructure, including security and Information and Communication Technology. A new court recording technology which enables the easy retrieval and storage of court recordings has been rolled out to all courts across the country.

I am also pleased to announce that the entities that report to the Department have also registered good progress during the last financial year. The detail of this will be in the budget speech.

Suffice to say that:

  • By the third quarter of the 2017/18 financial year, Legal Aid South Africa took on over 300 000 new matters. The organisation rendered legal advice to just over 225 000 clients. It also launched a “Please Call Me” service through which members of the public can make contact with a legal advisor at no cost to the caller.
  • The NPA secured 91.7% convictions in the superior courts, 81% in regional courts and 96.1% in the district courts.
  • The SIU recovered assets to the value of R33.5 million and secured the setting aside of administrative decisions to the value of R797 million.

Issued by the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services

For more information, please contact:
Mukoni Ratshitanga
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services
066 479 6012
Email: mediaenquiries@justice.gov.za