Parliament, Friday, 28 January 2021 – The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, Mr Bulelani Magwanishe, says it is unacceptable that the Department of Justice has allowed contracts for the maintenance and servicing of court recording transcription (CRT) machines and CCV-TVs to expire, forcing courts to postpone cases.
During an oversight visit to the Palm Ridge Court in Gauteng yesterday, the committee heard from magistrates and prosecutors that the unavailability of working recording machines presents a big challenge. It could lead to a crisis in cases where matters are taken on review or appeal, and court recordings are required.
The committee also heard that without CCV-TV, child rape cases cannot be heard, as this means that children cannot testify, forcing cases to be postponed.
With the above challenges as well as Covid19, the Palm Ridge Court has over 400 matters that are older than six months.
Committee Chairperson Mr Bulelani Magwanishe said it is unacceptable that court operations were disrupted by such as simple matter. “We are very worried about the issue of the court recording machines. How did it happen that a contract [for servicing and maintenance] came to an end with no plans in place?”
The committee also discovered structural defects in the court building, including cracks in walls, leaking roofs and broken lifts. The court also has a serious shortage of administration staff and, in some instances, court interpreters must double as clerks.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES, MR BULELANI MAGWANISHE