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Discovery of dangerous weapons at Humansdorp Magistrate’s office reveals shocking lack of security

BY Dr Malcolm Figg MP, Tsitsi-Kouga Constituency Leader and DA Shadow Minister for Public Works

A follow up oversight inspection by Councillor Henni Britz, DA councillor in the Sarah Baartman District Municipality, to the Humansdorp Magistrate’s Court building on request of court personnel on 21 June 2018, again revealed concerning and unsafe conditions for the staff and members of the public alike. See photos here, here and here.


The total lack of security measures at this court building resulted in dangerous weapons being discovered and confiscated on Wednesday, 20 June 2018. In one instance, two men entered the court building armed with knives, and on the morning of 21 June 2018 a concealed panga-type weapon was discovered in the only male toilets opposite the chief magistrate’s chambers. No arrests were made by the security guards on duty at the time, and no case was opened with the South African Police Service (SAPS).


Members of the public, accused and witnesses alike, have full access to magistrates’ chambers.


On the day of the oversight inspection, only one visible security guard was on duty at the entrance, without any metal detectors in sight. This is not an acceptable professional environment where the lives of magistrates, public prosecutors and court personnel are endangered on a daily basis.


Plans to extend and secure this building have been in place since 2006, but no progress has been made by the Department of Public Works, or the Department of Justice. The building falls under the National Department of Public Works and upgrades were approved 12 years ago. Even so, upgrades, approved at much later dates, have been done to the magistrates’ courts in Hankey, Patensie and Joubertina.


As Shadow Minister for Public Works I will now ask parliamentary questions from the Minister for Public Works on why the status quo at the Humansdorp Court remains.


It is an indictment against the government that after all these years a safe and adequate court building cannot be provided for our magistracy and other officials serving the community.


South Africans need to feel safe and be safe in cities and towns they call home. The DA would bring change that will provide security services to prevent crime and protect the community.

 June 25, 2018
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