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Justice Dept considers review of Child Justice Act after Forest High stabbing

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola's comments came ahead of the bail hearing of a grade 11 pupil from Forest High School who was accused of murder.

FILE: Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola. Picture: Robinson Nqola/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola said he was concerned by the rising levels of violence among young people.

His comments came ahead of the bail hearing of a grade 11 pupil from Forest High School in southern Johannesburg who was accused of stabbing and killing a grade eight pupil.

He was facing a charge of murder and two counts of attempted murder.

Two other pupils were wounded during the fight between two rival groups at the school on Monday.

Lamola held an in-loco inspection at the Johannesburg Magistrates Court on Thursday and expressed concerns over violence among young people.

Lamola said the department would consider reviewing the Child Justice Act.

“We’re concerned about the involvement of youth and minors in crime, as well as other heinous crimes taking place across the country. We’re looking to strengthen the justice system.”

Lamola also said he would not allow gangs and criminals to disrupt the process of justice in courts after two rival gang members from Westbury clashed on Wednesday.

Leaders of the two gangs appeared on cases of murder when their members got into a fist fight in the court corridors.

Leroy Brown, who was believed to be the leaders of the Varados gang in Westbury, appeared on a charge of murder when his members clashed with members of a rival gang called the Fast Guns led by Keenan Ebrahim.

Lamola said it was a blunder to schedule the two on the same day.

“This issue should have been foreseen. There was a lapse as their cases were brought together. That mistake will be corrected to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Weapons were seized from gang members during a search. The two gangs were believed to be fighting for territory in the area.

Lamola also said the department would introduce technology to improve efficiency.

The introduction of technology in the system was set to deal with the problem of missing dockets.

He said the department must move with speed in implementation.

“I think with the introduction of technology the court will be able to run with more ease, from the Justice Department to the police.”