Justice brings services closer for Gauteng and North West
The days of travelling long distances and incurring costs to access justice services for the community of Diepsloot have been drastically cut as of 1 December 2014, due to the alignment of courts into new magisterial districts in the Gauteng and North West province.
Diepsloot community travelled as far as Pretoria and Atteridgeville and paid about R70 taxi fare to access courts for maintenance and family law services.
The project of rationalisation of the magisterial districts to municipal boundaries was officially launched at the Diepsloot Youth Centre on 28 November 2014 and now Diepsloot residents and surrounding areas will no longer have to travel to Pretoria, but would go to the Randburg Magistrate’s Court, where the distance will only cost them R13.
Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha, MP, expressed that communities are losing confidence in the ability of the justice system to deal effectively and appropriately with crime as courts are too far from where they live.
“In an attempt to bring back communities to the centre of the justice system, we have moved courts closer to them which will, in turn, also cut travelling costs,” said the minister.
The department’s Chief Operations Officer, Dr Khotso De Wee highlighted that it is through the partnership of the Departments of Justice and Correctional Services, Public Works, the Judiciary, National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), South African Police Services (SAPS) and municipalities that the realignment of new magisterial boundaries has been a success.
“The rationalisation process has commenced only in Gauteng and the North West province, the rest of the provinces will undergo the same process in 2015,” said Dr De Wee.
The launch was followed by an Imbizo where members of the community got the opportunity to address issues of crime, domestic violence and rape in Diepsloot.
Ms Lizzy Chauke, whose sister was shot dead recently and whose niece is also in a critical condition in hospital from a gun wound, pleaded with the minister and the police to find the perpetrator.
“I have lost a sister and I am uncertain about whether my niece will be able to see again as she was shot in the eye. I only ask that the police bring back the Tactical Response Team (TRT) in Diepsloot as they did a good job in reducing the high crime rate in our community previously,” she appealed.
Police Major General, Mr Norman Taioe reported that Diepsloot has a high rate of domestic violence, rape and murder cases and assured that the community’s cry for a strong police presence in the area will be highly considered.
“I am confident that the realignment of magisterial districts is the best solution in improving service delivery. We as the police are committed to this project,” he concluded.
By Mosima Mashao
Published: 05 Dec 2014