South Africa: Arrangements Made After Alice Magistrates' Court Fire

The Eastern Cape provincial management of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has outlined plans that will see operations uninterrupted at the Alice Magistrates' Court after its offices were gutted in a fire on Friday.

In a statement issued on Monday, the department said provincial management at the weekend met affected stakeholders to ensure continued provision of services at the magistrates' court.

"Stakeholders and the provincial management have, subsequent to the meeting, arrived at a resolution that criminal court trials will be heard in the regional court building in the precinct of the Alice Magistrates' Court," said the department.

All documents required for court proceedings and services will be retrieved from the backup system at Middledrift Magistrates' Court and the destroyed files will be reconstructed.

Bail payments and pay-outs will also be made at the Middledrift Magistrates' Court.

The department said an office has been identified at the regional court to handle matters relating to domestic violence.

"Engagements to secure interim office space for children's court matters at local Department of Social Development offices are at an advanced stage," the department said.

Matters related to the Master's Office services will in the interim be rendered in Bhisho.

"All forms of connectivity at the court have been lost and members of the public, as well as other stakeholders, are advised to contact the Magistrates' Court on 071 215 0528 for services related enquiries.

"Enquiries related to child maintenance payments can be communicated with court officials on 079 465 2956," the department said.

The department reiterated its commitment to provide access to justice to the public.

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