The Department of Justice and Correctional Services says it is implementing four digital pilot projects at the national level this year – four additional projects in the process of digitizing and modernizing South Africa’s judiciary.

Addressing parliament during a vote on the budget on Wednesday (May 18th), Justice Minister Ronald Lamola said four online justice services projects piloted last year had been successful and now they intend to deploy them nationally in the current financial year. .

Projects include:

  • The Online service services were piloted in a family court in Point Durban.
  • The Online Trusts Services the solution allows online registration and filing of new trust applications. This solution was tested in the office of the masters in Pretoria, with certain trusted agents who used the Internet portal.
  • Online services Deceased Estatesthat allows online registration and filing of documents in respect of new deceased estates in the office of the masters: Pretoria. Phase 1 of this decision will be deployed nationally during this fiscal year by the Office of the Master.
  • The The system of management of public prosecutors entails features that will include a case management solution component to provide end-to-end management and tracking of public prosecutor cases and files.

“All of this will be deployed nationally during this fiscal year,” Lamola said.

In addition to these services, the minister said his office would work to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of South Africa’s criminal justice process through an integrated justice system, which plans four more modernization initiatives a year.

  • Electronic documents and forms of the criminal justice system (Justice Forms)

This initiative aims to review the processes for eliminating forms that become unnecessary as a result of electronic exchange of information between units of the criminal justice system, as well as the digitization of all documents and certificates that remain necessary.

  • Phase 2 of the court audiovisual decision for the parties to the case

It will be a means of video conferencing and identity card verification, which will be used to interview and testify witnesses / victims in cases where direct contact is impossible or very expensive, as well as in cases where experts are required in court.

In cases where the public cannot afford the cost of the data or does not have the smart devices needed to connect to the court device, these services will be available at local government agencies for use by arrangement.

  • Electronic scheduling and messaging for ships

It is a system of management and exchange of judicial information that allows you to track the date of the trial, the time of the trial, the arrival and registration of witnesses, victims, defendants, lawyers and prosecutors.

This system will facilitate the planning and communication of court decisions (such as postponements and new dates). The solution was developed and tested and subsequently launched into production. The pilot began in the peace courts of Bronhorstspruit and Cullinan.

  • Comprehensive bail processing and release management (Pay-Bail-Anywhere)

A comprehensive bail payment processing and release management solution, once fully developed and operational, will allow the defendant’s attorneys / family members to “pay bail anywhere”.

Lamola said the department will also focus on modernizing legislation to meet more modern standards.

“This financial year, we will work on 18 bills that will change the trajectory of our policy. This includes the RICA bill, which will provide additional oversight mechanisms and bring it in line with the latest technological advances, ”he said.

In 2021, the Constitutional Court declared unconstitutional the Law on the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information (RICA). The court said the law was unconstitutional because it “does not provide adequate guarantees for the protection of the right to privacy, backed by the right to freedom of expression and the media, access to justice and a fair trial.”

The ruling came after state-supervised journalist Sam Sole and the Amabhungane Center for Investigative Journalism filed an application to challenge the constitutionality of the law.

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