Rationalisation of Magisterial Districts
As from 1 December 2014, the magisterial districts in Gauteng and North West will be changed to ensure that they align with municipal boundaries. This process will also ensure that more people have access to justice services at courts that are located closer to where they live.
What does the rationalisation project aim to do?
- Align the jurisdiction of magisterial districts with municipal boundaries. Through the rationalisation of courts project, magisterial boundaries drawn before 1994 are redrawn in accordance with the new democratic dispensation.
- Enable communities to access justice services closer to where they live and reduce travelling costs.
All new cases enrolled from 1 December 2014 in Gauteng and North West will be dealt with in accordance with the newly-proclaimed areas of jurisdictions. Other provinces will undergo the same process from April 2015 starting with Limpopo and Mpumalanga.
Why was it necessary to undertake the rationalisation project?
- Access to justice is a basic human right, provided for in the Constitution. The main aim of the process is to widen access to justice by having a court in every municipality and a seat of the High Court in every province.
- At a district level, the areas of jurisdiction of the Magistrates’ Courts will be the same as that of Municipalities to the extent that this is practical and possible.
- New courts will be built in areas of need and existing courts will be allocated adequate jurisdiction to respond to the needs of the communities they serve.
For example, in terms of the old magisterial boundaries, the Diepsloot community had to travel to the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court to access justice services which is a distance of ±40 kilometres away. With the rationalisation process, the Diepsloot community will now be serviced by the Randburg Magistrate’s Court which is about ± 15 kilometres.
Who will be affected by this process?
Communities in Gauteng and North West will be affected as from 1 December.
Have there been consultations on this process?
Affected communities in the North West and Gauteng as well as the judiciary, prosecutors, police and municipalities were consulted.
How does the process affect justice services accessed by communities at courts?
- All new cases enrolled from 1 December 2014 in Gauteng and North West provinces will be dealt with at the court that has been allocated to serve your community.
- All cases that were enrolled before 1 December 2014 and are pending will be dealt with at the courts where they originated.
Which services will be provided at the closest to where you live?
From 1 December 2014 communities will get the following services from courts near to them:
- Hearings of criminal cases and civil disputes
- Small Claims Courts
- Domestic Violence
- Children’s Court
- Deceased Estates.
How will the process affect High Courts in your area?
The new magisterial districts will form the basis of new areas of jurisdiction of High Courts in all provinces. Changes to the jurisdiction of High Courts in Gauteng and North West will remain the same until April 2015.
Which courts and areas will be affected by this process?
All courts in Gauteng and North West are affected. However, the following areas are highly affected: Gauteng: Protea (Soweto), Randburg, Palm Ridge, and Mogale City (Krugersdorp). North West: Rustenburg, Vryburg and Potchefstroom.
How will I know which court to use?
The department has informed the affected communities on the changes to the magisterial districts. Maps showing the areas of jurisdiction of the new magisterial districts will be placed at all courts. If you are not sure, go to the local court or visit our "Find a Court" page for more information.
- Pamphlet on Rationalisation of Magisterial Districts
Enquiries on this project can be directed to:
Mr Zacharia (Moagi) Makena
Deputy Director (Court Establishment)
Tel: 012 315 1767. Fax: 086 507 4984, E-mail: Rationalisation@justice.gov.za