No court shutdown over coronavirus, chief justice says
Mogoeng Mogoeng asks those so inclined to pray ‘for the sake of the country’, but the courts will stay open
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng says there will be no shutdown of SA’s courts in response to the coronavirus — for now.
He added that the courts may need to be shut down if medical advice indicates that millions of South Africans have been infected.
Mogoeng was briefing the media about the judiciary’s response to the Covid-19 crisis, and 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.
The chief justice says the government has committed to providing financial support for these measures — which include measuring temperatures of people coming into the courts, provision of protective masks and gloves to staff, and sterilisation of court rooms at least twice a day.
Until that money is provided, Mogoeng said courts would use “petty cash” to fund these measures.
Mogoeng says it would be “myopic” to shut down courts in the wake of the crisis as “we don’t know long this will last”.
The chief justice 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”.