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Durban court now offers protection orders online

Samuel Mungadze
By Samuel Mungadze, Africa editor
Johannesburg, 27 May 2021
Justice and constitutional development minister Ronald Lamola.
Justice and constitutional development minister Ronald Lamola.

Government has launched its first court in the country where domestic violence survivors can apply for a protection order online.

Justice and constitutional development minister Ronald Lamola revealed that Durban Point Magistrate’s Court, which opened in March, will be the first in SA to offer such services.

“We hope to learn important lessons from this pilot as we prepare to roll out a more comprehensive version throughout the country,” Lamola said on Tuesday, when he tabled the department’s budget vote in Parliament.

The minister also revealed that summons and other justice services will soon be served electronically.

According to Lamola, the department has done considerable work in its efforts to intensify the use of ICT as a strategic enabler and a mechanism to improve access to justice services.

He said in future, the department will ensure justice services such as maintenance, protection orders and expungement of criminal records services are accessible to citizens through digital platforms.

“Through technology, the serving of court processes like summons, which traditionally are served physically by the police and sheriffs, will now be able to be served electronically to the parties, thus freeing up time to focus on service delivery priorities.

“The integration of this technology across the justice system will also enable a real-time single view of individuals engaging with the justice system where, for example, an integrated system will indicate, at any given point, whether individuals have protection orders against their names, or are applying for maintenance from different defendants at different courts, across the country.”

The minister added: “In the current digital era, it has become imperative to have an effective online presence between citizens and the department.

“This initiative improves citizens’ service through greater flexibility, cost savings, faster delivery of justice service, less paper to waste and certainly increased professionalism.”