Chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng says courts won't close - yet

17 March 2020 - 15:11 By Karyn Maughan
Chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said on Tuesday that SA's courts would remain open and precautions would be taken to prevent infection. This may change if millions of people become infected with the coronavirus.
Chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said on Tuesday that SA's courts would remain open and precautions would be taken to prevent infection. This may change if millions of people become infected with the coronavirus.
Image: Gallo Images / Foto24 / Mary-Ann Palmer

Chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng says there will be no shutdown of South Africa’s courts in response to the Covid-19 virus - for now.

But he added the courts may need to be shut down if millions of South Africans became infected.

Briefing the media on Tuesday about the judiciary’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Mogoeng revealed that court cases will continue to be heard, but with a far-ranging set of sterilisation measures to ensure the health and safety of all interested parties.

Mogoeng said the government was committed to providing financial support for these measures, which included:

  • measuring the temperatures of people coming into courts;
  • providing protective masks and gloves to staff; and
  • sterilising court rooms at least twice a day.

Until that money was provided, Mogoeng said courts would use “petty cash” to fund these measures.

Mogoeng said it would be “myopic” to shut down courts in the wake of the crisis, as “we don’t know long this will last”.

He also gave an emotional address in which he urged South Africans who were inclined to pray to do so "for the sake of this country".

President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a state of disaster at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on March 15 2020. This comes after the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus reached 61.


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