Minister of Justice and Correctional Services (JCS) Ronald Lamola has appointed 158 new magistrates for courts around the country.
This was announced on Tuesday by the ministry as it aims to help capacitate the overburdened courts due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The filling of these vacancies is an important step in capacitating our judicial officers and our courts, so as to enable them to deliver justice to all,” said Lamola.
“The date of assumption of duty will be 1 October 2021 so as to enable the new appointees to give the necessary resignation notices at their current positions, make arrangements to relocate and so forth.”
The department said the new appointments showed how far it had come in terms of gender and racial transformation, as there were now 695 African, 143 Indian, 176 Coloured and 388 White persons on the level of magistrate.
“We have made significant progress in terms of transformation over the last two decades. At the dawn of democracy in 1994, magistrates were part of the public service and were employed by the then departments of justice in the various homelands, the TBVC [Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei] states and the rest of South Africa,” read the statement from the department.
It said of the newly appointed magistrates, 104 are African, 23 are Coloured, eight are Indian and 23 are White, and in terms of gender, 88 are women with only 70 men.
“A fully transformed judiciary is a constitutional imperative,” added the statement.
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Lamola commended the Magistrates Commission for filling the posts.
He said the shortlisting and interviewing of 418 candidates was unprecedented, “all the more so given that the Commission had to do so under trying conditions brought about by Covid-19.”