Magistrate courts in KZN with higher volumes of cases have been asked to dedicate courts to deal with unrest cases.
This is one of the ways forward that has been established to prosecute those who have been arrested in connection with the unrest.
Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development John Jeffrey, together with stakeholders, met at the Verulam Magistrate’s Court on Monday to discuss a plan of action, gazetted by Minister Ronald Lamola.
The meeting took place with representatives from the National Prosecuting Authority, Legal Aid, court staff, unions and the local station commissioner in order to get an idea of the cases in the Verulam region.
Acting chief magistrate Irfaan Khalil said that last week the court received 148 cases, with 257 accused. They got 47 new cases yesterday morning.
Jeffrey said it was difficult to speak on KZN as a whole, however, the minister has gazetted directions which included the need for prioritising and speedily finalising unrest cases.
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Explaining the protocol, he said that when a person is arrested, they have to appear in court within 48 hours (this excludes weekends). This means that cases get processed as people get arrested. A decision is then taken by the court/prosecution regarding what should happen to those people.
They either get out on bail or are remanded in custody. Thereafter, the matter will be investigated further until it is ready for trial.
Jeffrey said the urgent issue when a person is arrested is to get them to court, adding that after that, there is more time for the state to conduct the necessary investigations.