Launch of Nsikazi Small Claims Court brings Justice Department closer to the target
02 October 2015
The Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, John Jeffrey, MP, officially launched a Small Claims Court at Nsikazi Magistrate’s Court on Friday, 02 October 2015. The launch of the Nzikazi Small Claims Court also coincides with the 30th anniversary of the establishment of small claims courts in the country.
Small claims courts are an important vehicle for communities to access justice, used to settle minor civil disputes and claims between parties without representation by an attorney. These courts are used to settle minor civil disputes and claims between parties in an informal manner, in claims up to R15 000. If the amount under dispute is more than R15 000, the person claiming can lessen his/her claim to R15 000.
Currently, there are 362 small claims courts nationally and additional courts are being established on a continuous basis. Three more courts are being gazetted today, which moves the number up to 365. This means that the department has achieved 95% coverage countrywide in terms of formally established small claims courts.
During event, Deputy Minister Jeffrey said: “It is trusted that this Small Claims Court that we launch here today, will continue to assist to address a great need of the community of Nsikazi as members of the community do not have the time nor sometimes the money for transport, to travel all the way to Nelspruit – which was previously the nearest Small Claims Court. They also cannot always afford the services of an attorney to represent them in their civil claims in the normal magistrates’ court.”
Court statistics show that the community is making use of this Small Claims Court, with cases relating to, amongst others, monies owed, the return of goods and for services rendered. From April to August 2015, 144 registered cases were registered. The total value of all registered cases, during this 5 month period, was R560 000, meaning that members of the community were able to institute civil claims worth more than half a million rand which they would otherwise not have been able to claim or recover.
The Deputy Minister concluded the speech by extending the Department’s gratitude to the Swiss Agency for Development and Corporation for their continued support of the Small Claims Court Project and urged community members to make use of the Small Claims Court.
Issued by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development
Enquiries: Advocate Mthunzi Mhaga
Spokesperson for the for the Ministry of Justice and Correctional services
083 641 8141