Administration of justice

Department of Justice and Constitutional Development
State Capture Commission
Gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF)
National Anti-Corruption Strategy
Court services
State Legal Services
Auxiliary and Associated Services
Master of the High Court
Integrated Case-Flow Management Framework




Department of Justice and Constitutional Development

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DoJ&CD) derives its mandate from the Constitution and a number of acts that assign functions to the department. These include the:

  • establishment of magistrate’s courts and the appointment of magistrates and other judicial officers;
  • establishment and functioning of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA); 
  • conducting of criminal proceedings; the prosecution of organised crime and corruption, and the forfeiture of assets obtained through illicit means; 
  • provision of witness protection to vulnerable and intimidated
    witnesses and their related persons in judicial proceedings;
  • establishment and functioning of bodies responsible for legal aid, law reform and rule‐making; the appointment of masters of the high courts;
  • management of third‐party funds;
  • administration of the Guardian’s Fund and deceased and insolvent estates; 
  • management of state litigation; the regulation and provision of legal advisory services to government departments;
  • promotion, protection and enforcement of human rights;
  • protection of vulnerable groups; and
  • provision of support to chapter 9 institutions.

Implementing state capture commission and Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations

The NPA is allocated R1.3 billion over the next three years to support the implementation of the State Capture Commission and FATF recommendations. This entails

  • increasing capacity in the authority’s National Prosecutions Service (NPS) and Investigating Directorate through the appointment of 26 and 94 personnel, respectively;
  • procuring specialist prosecution services for complex matters (especially financial crimes);
  • commissioning contracted forensic auditors and accountants to deal with high‐priority asset forfeiture matters;
  • establishing a digital forensic data centre;
  • providing close protection services and integrated security systems; and
  • financing increased operational costs for witness protection.

Accordingly, the number of prosecutions of state capture, fraud or corruption and related matters enrolled in the courts is expected to increase from nine in 2022/23 to 18 in 2025/26. Targets for a new indicator to measure the number of prosecutions involving money laundering charges are expected to be introduced from 2024/25 onwards, after establishing a baseline for such prosecutions in 2023/24.

Civil litigation will be initiated based on the special tribunal’s recommendations related to the state capture commission. To this end, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is allocated R100 million over the next three years, which is expected to enable it to increase the number of cases enrolled at the tribunal from 35 in 2022/23 to 65 in 2025/26.

Reducing gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF)

In its efforts to afford greater protection to citizens, particularly vulnerable groups, the department has moved towards a more gender‐focused criminal justice system. A key aspect of this entails implementing the recommendations of the Presidential Summit Declaration against GBVF and the National Strategic Plan on GBVF.

This includes establishing a targeted 40 sexual offences courts as designated courts over the next three years, and improving the management of the National Register for Sex Offenders (NRSO) to ensure the strict vetting of anyone working with vulnerable people. An allocation of R15 million over the medium term is available to support the establishment of sexual offences courts. The allocation does not affect the department’s budget as it is from the criminal assets recovery account.

Thuthuzela care centres are 24‐hour facilities where victims of sexual offences have access to all relevant services, including police, counselling, doctors, court preparation and prosecutors. The centres were introduced as a critical part of South Africa’s anti‐rape and gender‐based violence strategies, which aim to reduce secondary victimisation, improve conviction rates and reduce the time taken to finalise cases.

By mid-2023, there were 60 centres across the country. To strengthen capacity at these centres, R27.5 million over the MTEF period is reprioritised in the NPA programme was expected to appoint 15 additional personnel, who include site coordinators, victim assistant officers and state advocates.

This reprioritisation is from the NPS subprogramme’s compensation of employees budget as vacant posts for support services in the subprogramme were terminated. The department also plans to increase the number of centres to 68 by 2025/26 at an estimated cost of R15 million in the NPA programme. The department aimed to continue coordinating and contributing to the implementation of the National Action Plan for Combating Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerances.

This entails establishing an effective governance structure to lead and coordinate the implementation of the plan, developing a funding model, and establishing a rapid‐response mechanism for incidents of racist and xenophobic offences or hate crimes. To carry out this work, R5.1 million over the medium term is allocated in the State Legal Services programme. In 2022, President Cyril Ramaphosa signed into law legislation aimed at strengthening efforts to end GBV, with a victim-centred focus on combating this dehumanising pandemic. The President has assented to the

The purpose of the Criminal and Related Matters Amendment Act, 2021 (Act 12 of 2021) is to amend the:

  • Magistrates’ Courts Act of 1944, so as to provide for the appointment of intermediaries and the giving of evidence through intermediaries in proceedings other than criminal proceedings; the oath and competency of intermediaries; and the giving of evidence through audiovisual link in proceedings other than criminal proceedings;
  • Criminal Procedure Act of 1977, so as to further regulate the granting and cancellation of bail; the giving of evidence by means of closed circuit television or similar electronic media; the giving of evidence by a witness with physical, psychological or mental disability; the appointment, oath and competency of intermediaries; and the right of a complainant in a domestic related offence to participate in parole proceedings;
  • Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1997, so as to further regulate sentences in respect of offences that have been committed against vulnerable persons; and
  • Superior Courts Act of 2013, so as to provide for the appointment of intermediaries and the giving of evidence through intermediaries in proceedings other than criminal proceedings; the oath and competency of intermediaries; and the giving of evidence through audiovisual link in proceedings other than criminal proceedings, and to provide for matters connected therewith.

The purpose of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act Amendment Act, 2021 (Act 13 of 2021) is to amend the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 2007, so as to:

  • extend the ambit of the offence of incest;
  • introduce a new offence of sexual intimidation;
  • substitute the phrase ‘‘a person who is mentally disabled’’or ‘‘persons who are mentally disabled’’ wherever the phrase appears with the phrase ‘‘a person with a mental disability’’ or ‘‘persons with mental disabilities’’;
  • further regulate the inclusion of particulars of persons in the National Register for Sex Offenders;
  • extend the list of persons who are to be protected in terms of Chapter 6 of the Act;
  • extend the list of persons who are entitled to submit applications to the Registrar of the National Register for Sex Offenders;
  • further regulate the removal of particulars of persons from the National Register for Sex Offenders; and
  • further regulate the reporting duty of persons who are aware that sexual offences have been committed against persons who are vulnerable, and to provide for matters connected therewith.

The purpose Domestic Violence Amendment Act, 2021 (Act 14 of 2021) is to amend the Domestic Violence Act, 1998, so as to:

  • amend and insert certain definitions;
  • further provide for the manner in which acts of domestic violence and matters related thereto, must be dealt with;
  • further regulate protection orders in response to acts of domestic violence;
  • amend provisions of certain laws; and
  • provide for matters connected therewith.

National Anti-Corruption Strategy

The National Anti-Corruption Strategy, adopted by Cabinet in November 2020, has signalled the resolve of the Anti-Corruption Task Team (ACTT) to deliver on its work. Building on the key tenets of the Constitution, the Anti-Corruption Legal Framework, the NDP and other instruments, such as international treaties, the strategy uses research and stakeholder inputs to outline actions needed to achieve a society free of corruption.

The strategy is a whole-of-society effort that envisions an ethical and accountable state, business and society, characterised by high levels of integrity and respect for the rule of law. It promotes active citizenry that is empowered to hold leaders and organisations accountable. It foresees a state where all members of society have zero tolerance for corruption.

This National Anti-Corruption Strategy provides a framework and action plan for the country as a whole and seeks to create a society in which:

  • government’s administrative and procurement processes are reinforced to allow for greater monitoring, accountability and transparency;
  • the public is educated about what constitutes corruption and empowered to respond when or where it is noted;
  • the public and whistle-blowers are encouraged to report corruption, are supported and adequately protected when doing so;
  • public officials are held accountable for service delivery or the lack thereof;
  • the business sector and civil society organisations operate in a values-driven manner and are held accountable for corrupt practices; and
  • there is a culture of zero tolerance towards corruption in any sector and full accountability for those involved in corruption.

The Anti-Corruption Task Team (ACTT) is a collective of government stakeholders tasked with implementing the government’s anti-corruption agenda. The multi-agency ACTT was formed in October 2010 to fast-track high-priority investigations and prosecutions on corruption-related matters through a multi-disciplinary and integrated operational approach.

The ACTT is a sub-committee of the Justice Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster. The ACTT is chaired by the head of the Directorate for Priority Crime and Investigations and co-chaired by the National Director of Public Prosecution (NDPP).

This multi-agency body has been tasked with strengthening and developing anti-corruption policies and legislation; ensuring compliance with bi-lateral agreements with other international law enforcement agencies; and improving the country’s international
standing and general public perceptions about corruption. The ACTT is made up of these agencies:

  • Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (Hawks);
  • Special Investigation Unit (SIU);
  • NPA;
  • Investigating Directorate of the NPA;
  • Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU);
  • South African Police Service (SAPS);
  • SAPS Crime Intelligence;
  • State Security Agency;
  • Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC);
  • National Intelligence Coordinating Committee;
  • DoJ&CD;
  • Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA);
  • Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs;
  • Government Communication and Information System.

Court Services

The purpose of the programme is to facilitate the resolution of criminal and civil cases and family law disputes by providing accessible, efficient and quality administrative support to the lower courts, and managing court facilities.

State Legal Services

The purpose of this programme is to provide legal and legislative services to government, supervise the administration of deceased and insolvent estates and the Guardian’s Fund, prepare and promote legislation and undertake research in support of this.

Auxiliary and Associated Services

The purpose of the programme is to provide a variety of auxiliary services associated with the DoJ&CD’s purpose. It also funds the Interdepartmental Justice Modernisation Programme and the President’s Fund, and transfers payments to public entities and constitutional institutions.

Master of the High Court

The Master of the High Court serves the public in respect of:

  • deceased estates
  • liquidations (insolvent estates)
  • registration of trusts, tutors and curators administration of the Guardian’s Fund (minors and people with mental disabilities).

The Master’s Office has five main divisions, which are all aimed  at protecting the financial interests of people whose assets or interests are, for various reasons, managed by others.

As part of the turnaround strategy in the Master’s Office, there has been a special focus on training frontline officials. The Master’s Office is also investigating methods to deliver a more efficient and effective service to the public through the Internet.

Integrated Case-Flow Management Framework

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, in partnership with stakeholders from other partner organisations, is developing an enhanced version of case-flow management in the court environment.

To eradicate case-flow blockages workable solutions were adopted. These include:

  • continuous cooperation of stakeholders to implement and maintain case-flow management at all courts
  • establishing judicial leadership and case-flow management buy-in processes in the lower and higher courts in the form of case-flow management forums
  • facilitating and monitoring the creation of case-flow management governance structures to sustain productivity in the courts’ environment
  • maintaining case-flow management.

Systems that support case-flow management in the courts include the Integrated Case Management System (ICMS). This system spans all disciplines of cases administered in the justice environment.

The Integrated Case Management System draws on several core modules to perform basic functions such as information warehousing, case numbering and document scanning. 

The specific functionality for each court and office are then built on these foundations. The further development of the ICMS Masters System aims to create a Paperless Estate Administration System for the Master’s Office. This system will computerise the administration process in deceased estates, as all documentation will be scanned and stored electronically.

Audio-Visual Remand System

The system links magistrates’ courts to correctional detention centres via closed-circuit television. The development in this area of support to case-flow management for the courts has brought about a significant improvement in the movement of cases through the use of technology.

Case-Reduction Backlog Project

The Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster departments have introduced a case backlog intervention to reduce the number of backlog cases in regional and district courts, and provide additional capacity to the backlog priority sites.

The intervention ensures that the inflow of the number of new cases is balanced by the number of matters concluded. The project deliverables have been integrated into the outputs of the JCPS Cluster Delivery Agreement.

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has provided resources in the form of infrastructure, court personnel, the judiciary, magistrates and budget, in support of the prosecution and judiciary to remove these cases from the backlog roll.

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