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A committee to address case flow management launched

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng officially launched the Provincial Efficiency Enhancement Committee (PEEC), aimed at improving the judicial system on case flow management at the North Gauteng High Court this week.

The committee, which was launched in Pretoria on 13 November 2013, aims to enhance access to justice and affirm the dignity of all court users whilst ensuring effective, efficient and expeditious adjudication and resolution of all disputes in court.

Speaking at the media briefing held at the North Gauteng High Court chambers, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng remarked that gone are those days when the judicial officers will not do their daily court proceedings and keep on postponing their cases.

“Our Judicial system has failed lot of people, but with the launch of Efficiency Enhancement Committee we are going to ensure that we do things right and also ensure that people win back the trust of the justice system again,” the chief justice said. The Office of the Chief Justice believes that there is a need to enhance the efficiency of the courts in order to deliver on the mandate of giving all citizens access to quality justice. To deal with the issue, it is important for the office to address all matters that impact on the performance of the courts. “The Constitution demands that the courts be independent, impartial, and should be accessible and effective to guarantee the dignity of all citizens,” explained Justice Mogoeng.

According to the chief justice, this can only be achieved through the cooperation and commitment of all relevant stakeholders. He further explained that with the right prosecutors, his office would achieve a lot especially on the pending cases. Chief Justice Mogoeng indicated that there is a need for efficient intermediaries who can assist in presenting cases properly.

He raised a concern that many cases are pending and when there are no convictions at courts, people blame magistrates and judges. “It then becomes necessary for all of us to identify problems behind closed doors to avoid using others as scapegoats, but to better collaborate in improving the justice system,” he added.

He continued: “Our part is to monitor and evaluate work and the role played by our judicial officers. We monitor to ensure if judicial officers are doing their work on a daily basis,” the chief justice said, adding that his office has identified its failures and they are not happy with the performance in some courts.

North and South Gauteng High Court Judge President Dunstan Mlambo echoed chief justice’s sentiments, saying that it is a primary role of heads of courts to ensure that courts run properly and that judicial functions are in order. He further indicated that the underperformance has been identified as one of the big challenges and the judiciary is in the process of identifying ways of addressing this issue.

“We must be accessible and reliable to enhance access to justice and come up with resolutions in courts,” concluded Judge Mlambo.

 

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By Mokgethwa Ngoepe