The South African judiciary is putting cost-cutting measures in place relating to hotel accommodation, travelling and allowances, says the office of the chief justice.
“The state of our economy has had a very negative impact on the budgets of all government departments and state-funded institutions. The Judiciary is no exception,” spokesperson for the Judiciary Nathi Mncube said in a statement on Thursday.
“Our collective sense of responsibility demanded of us to identify possible areas of cost-containment, so as to ensure that our core business is not at any stage seriously compromised by budgetary constraints. Remember, nobody knows how long it will take for this economic climate to improve.”
Mncube said that from February, the heads of all the courts reflected on what the Judiciary could do to contain costs. The cost-cutting measures, now in place, relate to among others, hotel accommodation, travelling, aspects of subsistence and travelling allowance, the extent of involvement of assessors, being accompanied by personal assistants on Circuit Court, and the level at which vehicles to be purchased by judges is pitched.
He said while the “unfavourable economic climate persists”, vehicles would be rented whenever it became necessary for a judicial officer to rent a vehicle.
“These measures are to be departed from only when circumstances so demand. Colleagues were made to appreciate that this is the sacrifice we all have to make for the good of the country, particularly because budgets, including ours, are being cut from time to time. This is a survival strategy,” he said.
“The reversal of these measures is anticipated as soon as our economy recovers from the battering it has hitherto been exposed to. This is a difficult period for our country. The sacrifice judicial officers are willing to make for the good of the Judiciary, and our country is highly appreciated by the collective leadership and membership of the Judiciary.”
He said the conditions of employment and benefits of judicial officers were constitutionally protected, but that this was a matter of conscience and one’s sense of responsibility.
– African News Agency (ANA)