Courts countrywide to be crippled by magistrates strike next week

A planned magistrates' strike over a pay dispute may affect over 1000 courts. (Photo: Circle Space)

A planned magistrates’ strike over a pay dispute may affect over 1000 courts. (Photo: Circle Space)

A magistrates’ strike planned for Monday 18 March may bring 1346 South African courts to a standstill, The New Age reports. The strike is said to be a last-ditch effort to resolve a pay dispute which started in 2010.

The Judicial Officers Association of South Africa (Joasa) expressed its embarrassment at the decision of its members to undertake the strike action, but said it was a last resort.

The courts affected include specialised maintenance courts, small claims courts and regional courts, according to the newspaper, which also says magistrates are the only judicial officers who hear bail applications, first appearances, handle traffic fines, default judgments and other minor offences. Read more.

Members of Parliament have warned the magistrates not to go on strike, saying magistrates are public servants and that their proposed action will have an adverse impact on the justice system. Read more.

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The Wits Justice Project combines journalism, advocacy, law and education to make the criminal justice system work better for all.

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