Ronald Lamola: Advancing Justice and Correctional Services in South Africa

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justice system south africa

Minister Ronald Lamola of Justice and Correctional Services in South Africa recently announced the department’s budget for the 2023/24 fiscal year. The budget allocation of R23.2 billion is aimed at protecting the Constitution, upholding the rule of law, and making justice accessible, fair, speedy, and cost-effective.

Transforming the Judiciary

The appointment of Madam Justice Mahube Betty Molemela as the President of the Supreme Court of Appeal is a significant step in transforming the country’s judiciary. Minister Lamola believes it will play a critical role in promoting justice for all South Africans.

Improving Performance

Although the Department has faced challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, ransomware attacks, and power outages, it has seen a 30% increase in performance compared to the 2019/20 fiscal year, with notable increases in the 2022/23 fiscal year.

Priorities for the 2023/24 Fiscal Year

Minister Lamola outlined several priorities for the 2023/24 fiscal year, including:

  • Strengthening institutions involved in fighting crime and corruption
  • Implementing modernisation and digitisation initiatives
  • Increasing access to justice
  • Transforming the legal profession
  • Systematically addressing gender-based violence and femicide
  • Safeguarding the human rights of vulnerable groups
  • Dismantling outdated apartheid and colonial-era legislation.

Fighting Crime, Fraud, and Corruption

The South African government has committed a substantial portion of its budget to fighting crime, fraud, and corruption. The National Prosecution Authority’s overall allocation for 2023/24 amounts to R5.407 billion, with an additional grant of R915 million to strengthen the fight against crime and corruption.

Modernising and Digitising Services

The Department of Justice is moving towards modernising and digitising its services by upgrading its IT infrastructure, investing in state-of-the-art data centre equipment, and developing essential business applications. This modernisation includes implementing innovative Court Audio Visual Solutions, enabling parties to appear in Court via video, and developing online services to improve access to the justice system.

Increasing Access to Justice

The Department is taking initiatives to ensure that court users with disabilities have reasonable access to the courts. Officials in these courts are trained to meet the needs of persons with disabilities. The Department is also working on refurbishing and upgrading courts to make them accessible to all individuals.

Transforming the Legal Profession

The Department aims to transform the legal profession by registering many black legal professionals, including women from disadvantaged communities, with the Legal Practice Council. It also aims to distribute briefs more equitably and recognise those instrumental in bringing about this change.

Addressing Gender-based Violence and Femicide

The Department has implemented Phase 5 of the Femicide Watch, aimed at tackling gender-based violence and femicide. This program uses a user-friendly dashboard that identifies systemic issues within national laws and policies across all state departments.

Dismantling Apartheid and Colonial-era Legislation

The South African Law Reform Commission is working on preparing a Bill to modernise and review the Criminal Procedure Act and repeal and replace the unconstitutional Riotous Assemblies Act.

By effectively allocating resources, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development is taking significant strides towards creating a fair and equitable justice system in the country.

A Russian-Spanish journalist and Cape Town native, channels his lifelong passion for South Africa into captivating stories for his local blog. With a diverse background and 50 years of rich experiences, Serjio's unique voice resonates with readers seeking to explore Cape Town's vibrant culture. His love for the city shines through in every piece, making Serjio the go-to source for the latest in South African adventures.

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