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Justice department unveils plans to miminise impact of power cuts at courts

The justice department has installed UPS systems and will add generators at various courts around the country. Stock photo.
The justice department has installed UPS systems and will add generators at various courts around the country. Stock photo.

The department of justice and constitutional development has unveiled a range of plans to minimise the impact of load-shedding on courts and its other service delivery points.

The Sunday Times reported last year that the Gauteng deputy judge president directed most of the court hearings to be conducted virtually because of load-shedding and the “failure of the office of the chief justice (OCJ) and the department of public works to provide a reliable generator”.

On Friday, the justice department confirmed it has embarked on a project to install 80 generators with the department of public works and infrastructure (DPWI) at numerous service points.

“The project is at different phases of implementation at the provinces. All other capital, upgrading and refurbishment projects registered with DPWI include the provision of generators or alternative power supply to ensure that service points are always functional.

“The department has also embarked on a pilot programme to install inverters/solar power systems at various service points through the new minor works delegation received from [public works] in October 2022.”

The eight superior courts set to have generators installed are:

  • the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg;
  • labour court and labour appeal court in Durban;
  • Gauteng division of the high court at the Palace of Justice in Pretoria;
  • Mpumalanga High Court in Middelburg;
  • Limpopo High Court in Thohoyandou;
  • Western Cape High Court in Cape Town;
  • labour court and labour appeal court in Cape Town; and
  • Eastern Cape High Court in Bisho.

The department further said uninterrupted power supply (UPS) systems have been “provided to all server rooms in all superior courts to prevent data loss and ensure business continuity to the ICT networks”.

“UPS units are, however, required for the court recording technology (CRT) machines in all these courts to prevent data loss and minimise interruptions.”

Furthermore, the department said justice minister Ronald Lamola had written to the co-operative governance and traditional affairs and electricity ministers to look into exempting the courts from load-shedding during operational hours.

“Courts with generators will now take part in the transversal contract on the provision of diesel so that courts can operate without disruptions. In addition, DPWI has advised that they are engaging a term contractor for maintenance of the existing generators.

“Emergency lights have been procured for cells and all dark areas in the courthouses. The court personnel continue to serve the public during load-shedding, focusing on administrative processes that can be done manually. These processes are then captured on ICMS, MojaPay and other IT systems once electricity is back.”


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