Minister tackles concerns of Sinthumule residents during Imbizo
By Mosima Mashao, Internal Communication
In a continuous awareness raising effort, the department once again engaged with the Sinthumule residents, in Makhado, Limpopo, on service delivery issues, particularly access to justice services.
Justice and Correctional Services Minister, Advocate Michael Masutha, MP, visited the area on 8 April 2015, where he hosted a community Imbizo and interacted with residents on various issues affecting communities around Makhado in accessing justice services.
Delivering a keynote address, Minister Masutha highlighted the importance of making use of the services offered by the department and government generally. “We are here to attend to the needs of those we serve and want to let everyone benefit, feel proud and be part of an inclusive South Africa,” he remarked.
Explaining the role of an Imbizo to Sinthumule residents, Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Mr John Jeffery said this engagement serves to educate and create public awareness on using justice services that are made available to the public. “This event is also a two way method of sharing information between us as government and you as our communities,” he explained.
The public also had an opportunity to pose questions to the minister and the panel and one of the community members, Mr Solomon Lithole appealed to Minister Masutha to review the operating hours of small claims courts as “there is lack of transport and it’s dangerous for us as residents to attend small claims courts after hours.”
Another community member, Mr Thomas Thubakgale alleged that criminals get special treatment compared to victims and good citizens who have never committed any crime.
“We often hear of criminals getting admitted to private hospitals and others taken to school while ordinary citizens who have not committed any crime do not get such privileges,” he complained.
In his response, Minister Masutha explained that small claims courts use the services of commissioners who volunteer after hours and have commitments during normal working hours. “The operation of small claims courts during the day will also result in a lack of space and infrastructure during normal hours, as this function is only carried out on pro bono basis,” he added.
The minister further explained that the department, together with the Department of Correctional Services further plan to review the way in which victims are dealt with in the criminal justice system value chain.
He made reference to sexual offences courts for victims of sexual and domestic violence as one of the measures the department undertook to ensure that victims are served with dignity and feel free when utilising such facilities.
Chief Rudzani Sinthumule of the royal council thanked the minister for visiting his village and encouraged members to make use of government services as it is their basic human right.
Published: 10 April 2015