Justice Today

Justice Today, Mar 2021

Justice in Action

Minister Lamola officially launches Point Branch Court

Access to justice services remains on top of the agenda of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DOJ&CD). As part of Human Rights Month Commemoration Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Mr. Ronald Lamola officially launched the Point Branch Court in KwaZulu-Natal.

The Point Family family court is ground-breaking as it signals a paradigm shift in so far as Family Courts are concerned; it is the second Family Court with integrated family services to be launched countrywide. Family courts services comprising  Domestic Violence, Maintenance, Children’s Court and Protection from Harassment, will now be provided at the new state of the art family and child friendly facility at Shepstone Road, Point.

The launch of this court will ease high caseloads at the Durban Magistrates Court. “This court we open today is a branch court which in effect means that it concentrates on basket of services.  Which over the years have been concentrated in the Durban Magistrates Court, which has served and continues to serve the communities such as Kwa-Mashu, Umlazi, Chatsworth, and Phoenix,” explains Minister Lamola.

The court has been designed to enhance the experience of the court users whilst in the court environment. Services are offered in a more secure and private setting that promotes and maintains human dignity and privacy. “Through this court and its facilities such as respite rooms, we are not only demonstrating a shift towards gender sensitive courts, but also, we are displaying the implementation of gender of budgeting.  Most of the features of this court are designed not just to dispense justice, but to achieve this objective also with the needs of women in mind,” says Minister Lamola.

The environment at the new Points Court makes it possible for members of public will be treated with dignity and respect to ensure that secondary victimization does not occur. 

Technology available at the court that makes it possible to continue with the administration of justice even in the era of the Covid 19 pandemic.  All six courtrooms are equipped to enable remote testimony through audio-visual links or remote court appearances.  “This court will be the first court in South Africa, where domestic violence survivors can apply online for a protection order.  We hope to learn important lessons from this pilot as we prepare to roll out a more comprehensive version throughout the country,” Highlights Minister Lamola.

The launch of this Court coincides with South Africa’s celebration of a historic milestone, which is 25 years since the adoption and final certification of the democratic Constitution.

By Sinenhlanhla Mkhwanazi