'Bill proposal to speed up court system'

President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS.

HOUGHTON - President Jacob Zuma on Thursday said government's proposals for the transformation of the judiciary are aimed at giving the poor access to the country's courts.

Zuma said a number of bills that will help speed-up the transformation of the courts have been in the making for more than 15 years.

The president was speaking at an attorneys' society meeting in Houghton, Johannesburg.

He said many different views on the proposals did not mean judges were being attacked.

Zuma said the Legal Practice Bill, which is being discussed by the Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Justice, is meant to change the old way of doing things.

“The premise of the bill is that people who exercise, or are involved in the exercise of judicial authority, must meet certain requirements and be subject to certain norms and standards.”


Meanwhile, retired judge Johann Kriegler urged law abiding citizens to ensure there is no repeat of the violence that took place in Marikana last month, during a five-week strike by Lonmin workers. 

Kriegler said he was “shocked and horrified” by the shooting in which 34 people were killed by police at the mining town. 

He said the shooting reminded many South Africans of the old apartheid days.

“Things are very gloomy, we’ve come through worse times.” 

The former Constitutional Court judge had harsh words for international media who covered the deadly wage strike.

“It is most disturbing to see, when you turn on the television, that we are once again a haven for international journalists to opine about the doom awaiting South Africa.”

He said it was up to law abiding citizens to ensure the scenes of the Marikana shooting do not repeat themselves.

Lonmin management and workers resolved their wage dispute on Tuesday, agreeing to wage increases of between 11 and 22 percent. 

The deal brought much relieve, as miners could return to work and violence that claimed 46 lives ended.

(Edited by Thato Motaung)