After refusing to hear opposed cases earlier this month, apparently for Covid-19 reasons, the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court is now hearing all cases again.
On the 3rd of August, Sakeliga sent an urgent letter to the office of the Chief Justice, the Tshwane Chief Magistrate, the Magistrate’s Commission, the Honorable Judge President Mlambo and the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development and requested that the court proceed with the hearing of all cases, including opposed commercial cases. Sakeliga also requested that proceedings before the Small Claims Court be resumed immediately, to avoid further losses to businesses.
“Sakeliga welcomes the reopening of the Magistrate’s Court for opposed commercial cases. After all, the failure or refusal to hear opposed commercial cases entails great risks for businesses on the court roll, especially where recoverable claims and enforcement of agreements are in play,” says Piet le Roux, CEO of Sakeliga.
“However, the fact that the magistrate’s court withdrew their directive and the hearing of all cases is resumed is not sufficient. There is a considerable bottleneck on the rolls of courts countrywide, among which the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court and Pretoria High Court stand out as examples. Sustainable and cost-effective solutions must now be implemented by the courts, the private sector and civil society, to resolve the bottleneck.”
The long-standing backlog on the court rolls of courts countrywide, and its attendant impact on businesses and lawyers, has motivated Sakeliga to launch a cost-friendly private dispute resolution initiative. Several advocates in Pretoria have already indicated their willingness to act pro bono as arbitrators. Further announcements about this initiative will follow soon.