interpreters up in arms

SEVERAL cases were postponed in the Johannesburg magistrate's court yesterday after more than 100 interpreters went on strike over non-payment of their salaries.

SEVERAL cases were postponed in the Johannesburg magistrate's court yesterday after more than 100 interpreters went on strike over non-payment of their salaries.

Accused people were kept in the holding cells as magistrates and prosecutors waited inside courts for the situation to be resolved.

A prosecutor, who asked not to be named, said court officials understood the frustrations of interpreters, especially those from foreign countries. "Most of them have been working here for more than ten years and they are doing a good job, but they are still employed as temporary staff and undervalued."

Diana Ruyaga said interpreters were paid R300 a day.

John Molefe, an interpreter from Zimbwabwe, said he had been working at the court for the last 10 years. In the past four years interpreters had struggled to get their pay towards the December holidays.

A local interpreter, Jacobeth Lesufi, said the Department of Justice had not told them that payments would be delayed.

Justice spokesperson Tlali Tlali was not available for comment.

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