27 May 2010
People who disregard South Africa’s laws during the 2010 Fifa World Cup™ will be “red-carded” by the law, with 54 special courts set up around the country to handle World Cup-related cases speedily.
Deputy Justice Minister Andries Nel told BuaNews that the 54 special courts, set up by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, were prepared for whatever the event threw their way.
“The courts are ready,” he said in Pretoria this week. “A large number of acting magistrates were appointed this week, and practice runs have taken place at these courts.”
Nel warned that the courts would not hesitate to deal with criminals during the soccer tournament: “Any hooligans or criminals who try their luck during the World Cup will also feel something – the red card of the law,” he said.
Countrywide courts, two shifts
The special courts – 34 at district courtrooms and 20 in regional courts – have been set up throughout the country. Most are expected to open on Friday, 28 May and will hear cases until 25 July.
There will be seven courtrooms in Limpopo province, four in Mpumalanga, seven in the Eastern Cape, three in KwaZulu-Natal and two in the Western Cape. The North West province will get four special courtrooms, the Free State three and the Northern Cape two. Gauteng province will have the most number of courtrooms – 22 in total.
To ensure that cases are dealt with speedily, the courts will operate on two shifts – a day shift from 7.45am to 4.30pm and a night shift from 4.30pm to 11pm.
The department said it had a constitutional obligation to ensure that the rights of all people within the borders of South Africa were protected.
“In the furtherance of this constitutional mandate, the department is putting extraordinary measures in place to ensure that the cases involving the multitude of soccer fans and participating teams who will be coming from all corners of the world for the World spectacle are fast-tracked,” the department said.
The South African Police Service, the National Prosecuting Authority, Legal Aid South Africa and the Judiciary are all involved in the Administration of Justice Plan, which will be implemented to deal with crimes associated with the World Cup.
The dedicated courts would also avoid disruption to the normal judicial services for South African citizens, the department said.
“These court rooms will deal with all 2010 Fifa World Cup-related cases. These dedicated court rooms are in courts which are mainly in host cities and located closer to the stadiums and ports of entry,” the department added.