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Oudtshoorn Magistrates Court closed due to non-compliance with COVID regulations

The closure of the Oudsthoorn Magistrate Court followed a visit by labour inspectors who had received a tip-off.

Picture: SAPS.

CAPE TOWN - The Labour Department has closed the Oudtshoorn Magistrates Court due to non-compliance with COVID-19 lockdown regulations.

The closure follows a visit by labour inspectors who had received a tip-off.

The inspectorate found the court was unsafe and in contravention of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Labour inspectors issued the court with a prohibition notice after observing a range of COVID-19 regulations and the Occupational Health and Safety Act were not being adhered to.

The prohibition notice essentially means no operations can take place at the court and no officials or visitors will be allowed on the premises.

It stands until it's lifted by the inspectorate.

Among some of the contraventions, inspectors found the court didn't have a proper COVID-19 risk assessment in place, there were issues with the use of biometric systems, there were poor screening processes, no social distancing and also no procedures in place to manage the isolation and quarantining of staff.

Provincial chief inspector David Esau said they had no other choice but to close the court in the interest of the safety of staff and the public as they also found the fire extinguishers were expired and there was poor electrical wiring.

During a briefing session with court officials, Esau explained the employer would need to provide sufficient evidence that processes have been put in place to address the concerns raised.

The court has also been advised to establish a health and safety committee.

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