It is source of worry that the public has lost confidence in the judicial system, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said on Wednesday.
"We are concerned that the public is concerned," he told reporters at the high court in Pretoria. Cases were being postponed for too long and judgments being reserved for years, and the public was complaining. This was why a national efficiency enhancement committee and provincial efficiency enhancement committees were established.
"Part of the responsibility of national and provincial structures is to help monitor and evaluate performance.
"We [are] driving towards ensuring we can tell when a judicial officer is not doing what they are paid to do," Mogoeng said.
He was launching the Gauteng efficiency enhancement committee at the high court in Pretoria. Provincial committees have also been launched in Limpopo and Mpumalanga.
The committees in each province would be chaired by the judge presidents.
Judge Nathan Erasmus, a member of the national committee, said it was established in 2012 by the chief justice to enhance the efficiency of the courts. This could only be achieved by commitment and co-operation.
The committee was made up of representatives of the National Prosecuting Authority, the departments of correctional services, justice, social development, health and public works, the police, Legal Aid South Africa and the advocates and attorneys' profession.
Mogoeng said the functioning of the judicial system was a collective responsibility of all these parties. "It is necessary for us … to identify the problems behind closed doors to avoid using others as scapegoats … so it doesn't become difficult for key role players to admit to their failures," he said in explaining how the committee works.
"[It is] not only to identify problems and own up but to collectively find solutions to these problems." – Sapa