'Courts must process justice faster'

Trust in the criminal justice system is being negatively affected by [a lack of] service delivery in the courts, say the director-generals of the justice crime prevention and security (JCPS) cluster.

Trust in the criminal justice system is being negatively affected by [a lack of] service delivery in the courts, say the director-generals of the justice crime prevention and security (JCPS) cluster.

"The large number of outstanding cases on the court rolls... remain a concern as it impacts negatively on service delivery and consequently on trust in the criminal justice system," the cluster said in an official statement yesterday.

The statement follows a presentation in Simonstown, Western Cape, by advocate Hussen Mohamed of the department of justice, highlighting [the need for] efficiency and effectiveness of the court processes in the province - and an integrated approach to the criminal justice system.

The cluster said that of the 5483 cases on the regional court rolls, 17333 cases (34percent) had been there for longer than nine months.

"The cluster is intensifying measures to reduce the number of detainees awaiting trial and 11 remand detention centres, including Pollsmoor. have been declared," Mohamed said.

Welfare and educational programmes for children in conflict with the law had been improved in a number of areas and the Western Cape "had more secure care facilities" compared with other provinces in the country.

The cluster outlined backlog sites in the provinces as seven in KwaZulu-Natal, six in Eastern Cape, nine in Western Cape, seven in Gauteng, one in Free State, three in Mpumalanga, and one in both Northern Cape and Limpopo.

It was noted that Western Cape had more backlog sites than other provinces.

Reference was also made to the establishment of a "war room" that coordinated information on criminal activities in a central system, the cluster said. - Sapa

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