“This is the first of several reforms we want to introduce. For instance, there is no reason why uncontested divorce applications and maintenance applications cannot be done online,” he added.
President Cyril Ramaphosa recently characterised gender-based violence as the second pandemic that the country has to contend with.
Lamola said in the period between April 2019 and March this year, his department unveiled 13 sexual offences courts across the country, which are victim-centric in nature.
The modernisation project has also seen a rollout of the Person Identification and Verification Application system, which is located at police stations and enables the identity of arrested individuals to be verified using their fingerprints and checked against the department of home affairs records.
Lamola said more than 227,098 accused persons have been verified via this system and over 135,968 of these individuals [60%] had prior criminal records that could be referenced. A further 6,205 wanted persons could be identified and linked to SAPS circulations as persons of interest for other cases, he said.
“This timely information is assisting SAPS and the National Prosecuting Authority [NPA] during the subsequent management of accused persons and provides data to assist bail considerations,” he said.
“As at March 2020, the South African Social Security Services [Sassa] had verified 154,974 beneficiaries.”
The minister said the budget vote he was presenting to parliament for approval sought to make the criminal justice system accessible and effective.
The total departmental budget for 2020/2021 financial year was reduced by R416m from R22.4bn to R21.9bn. This cut consisted of:
- R111m on compensation of employees;
- R122m on court infrastructure;
- R150m from the NPA;
- R10m from the Special Investigative Unit; and
- R23m from Legal Aid SA.