Union condemns hearing of cases 'under the trees' outside Musina court
The Public Servants Association of SA (PSA) has condemned the decision by the justice department to continue to deal with cases at the closed Musina magistrate's court “under the trees” as inappropriate and demeaning to both clients and officials.
The court was closed on Tuesday morning after a prohibition notice was issued by the department of employment & labour on Monday.
The notice stated that the building, which houses the Court A district court and Court B regional court, posed an immediate danger of collapse that may cause fatal injuries.
After the closure of the building, the justice department said one of the contingency measures to prevent disruptions to operations was that cases will be postponed outside the court building daily.
“The arrangement is unprofessional to say the least and further exposes the officials to possible risk and danger as the security (has) not been enhanced,” said the PSA.
“The other sensible options like provision of temporary mobile structures could have ensured that while the services are not disrupted, the dignity of the customers and employees is also maintained.”
The union also said this arrangement was in contravention of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, which dictates that employers must provide and maintain, as far as is reasonably practicable, a working place that is safe and without risk to the health of employees.
“Working outside exposes the employees to unnecessary risk and danger hence the employer should reconsider and urgently provide an alternative that is conducive and safe to employees.”
The union called on justice minister Ronald Lamola to urgently address this problem and ensure that while a permanent solution is sought, an appropriate alternative is provided without exposing workers to unnecessary risk.