Disaster Management Act, 2002
Directions to Address, Prevent and Combat the Spread of COVID-19 in all Courts, Court houses and Justice Service Points in the Republic of South Africa
Government Notice 992 of 2020
- Published in Government Gazette no. 43709 on 11 September 2020
- Assented to on 8 September 2020
- Commenced on 11 September 2020
- [This is the version of this document from 11 September 2020.]
1. DefinitionsIn these Directions, unless the context indicates otherwise—"Annexure" means the Annexure to these Directions;"case backlog" means, in relation to a district or regional court-(a)a civil case that has been in the district or regional court for longer than nine (9) months since the issue of summons without being finalised; and(b)a criminal case that has not been finalised within nine (9) months of the first appearance of the accused in either a district or regional court;"court room" means a room in which proceedings of a court, commission or special tribunal are conducted and includes judges' chambers, a commissioner’s chamber, magistrates' chambers, and audiovisual link or other audiovisual links such as teleconference or video conference or any other electronic mode linked to a court;"court house" means a court building or premises demarcated with or without a fence or a wall where a court is built or situated;"court manager" means an official appointed by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development or the Office of the Chief Justice, as the case may be, who manages a court house;"Criminal Procedure Act" means the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act No. 51 of 1977);"justice service point" means a centre or an office where family law services or services of the Masters of the High Court are obtainable;"National Prosecuting Authority" means the National Prosecuting Authority established in terms of the National Prosecuting Authority Act, 1998 (Act No. 32 of 1998);"priority roll" means the roll of criminal cases that has been prioritised in respect of each court;"state of disaster" means the national state of disaster declared by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs on 15 March 2020 in terms of section 27(1) of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (Act No. 57 of 2002), as extended; and"the Regulations" means the Regulations issued by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs in terms of section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (Act No. 57 of 2002), and published in Government Notice No. R. 480 of 29 April 2020, as amended.
3. Limited servicesLimitations to the services listed in the Annexure to these Directions are applicable during Alert Level 2, to the extent indicated in the said Annexure.
4. Directions issued by Heads of CourtThese Directions must be read with directives issued from time to time by the Chief Justice and Heads of Court in terms of the Superior Courts Act, 2013 (Act No. 10 of 2013).
5. Restriction of access to a court room, court house or justice service point
6. Postponement of criminal cases and related matters
7. Measures to reduce case backlogs
8. Use of audiovisual links in judicial proceedingsAn audio visual link or any electronic mode may be used in any proceedings where the presiding officer deems it appropriate and, where to do so, would prevent unreasonable delay, save costs or be convenient and make it unnecessary for the person to appear in person in the court room.
9. InterpretersCourt interpreters including foreign language interpreters, where required, must be sourced from within the province in which the case is heard except where a particular language is not available within the province such interpreter may be sourced from another province.
10. Resolution of disputes
11. Safety measures at courts, court houses and justice service points during the period of the state of national disaster
12. Disinfection of court room, court house or justice service point
13. ExclusionA judicial officer who presides over any matter in court may, where the interests of justice so require, order that the application of any provision of these Directions be deviated from, provided that such deviation does not result in the exposure of persons to infection by COVID-19.
14. CommencementThese Directions come into operation on the date of publication in the Government Gazette.
History of this document
11 September 2020 this version
Published in Government Gazette number 43709
08 September 2020