Mdantsane court gets thumbs up from the director-general
In a quest to ensure that good governance is maintained within the department, the Director-General, Ms Nonkululeko Sindane embarked on an unannounced visit to the Mdantsane Magistrate’s Court in the Eastern Cape on 10 April 2014.
On arrival, the director-general was very impressed with the cleanliness of the court and the fact that there were no long queues in the cash hall since the introduction of the Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). This is one of Ms Sindane’s ways of assessing the delivery of justice services whilst encouraging various offices in the regions to maintain and sustain good governance.
During the visit, the director-general conducted a thorough check on the court’s weekly and monthly bank reconciliations where she detected a number of inaccuracies. On her findings, she noticed that there had been shortages and forced balancing with regard to traffic fines and bail monies that could still not be accounted for by control officers and accounting clerks.
She advised that shortages and pay-overs of every financial year should be recorded in their allocated registers with copies attached as proof, so that it makes it easy for officials who deal with the files to get the full update and status of each particular file.
The director-general then made her way to the deceased estates office and a civil court where she was pleased at the organisation and up-to-date recording and filing of deceased’s estates documents to a well monitored employee attendance register.
Although the office of the civil court did not have a separate registers on taxation and default judgements, the office was instructed by the DG to compile a proper taxation register and do their default judgements every 14 days (unopposed) and 30 days (opposed) as it is reflected on the department’s targets.
During Ms Sindane’s interaction with the Mdantsane Area Court Manager, Mr Zibele Sisusa, a few challenges were addressed. Mr Sisusa asked for the director-general’s intervention on the tarnished relationship between the court and the local police who do not approve of the court’s security system as they view it as intrusive to them. The bad relationship between both parties has led to the police not complying with security measures and not bringing in prisoners on time for court appearances. The DG immediately raised the matter with her senior managers in this regard.
Mdantsane Magistrate’s Court has 4 000 maintenance recipients, 2 300 of those beneficiaries receive maintenance through the EFT while 1 700 comprises of complainants who submit incomplete documents and maintenance defaulters who always fail to pay.
Ms Sindane indicated that maintenance defaulters should be isolated from other maintenance issues and investigations should be done as to why they fail to pay.
The director-general was satisfied with the overall management of the court and pledged to prioritise some of the problems faced by the court as this affects the delivery of vital services to communities.
By Mosima Mashao
Published: 15 April 2014