The Moseneke Commission, which is looking at rationalisation of courts in the country is expected to announce its decision on it’s recommendation to relocate the seat of the Eastern Cape division of the High Court from Makhanda to Bisho between August and September this year.
A community engagement on the issue was held in Makhanda on Thursday.
Majority of residents of Makhanda are opposed to moving the High Court.
Chairperson of the Makhanda High Court action committee, Dr Sizwe Mabizela says it will result in joblosses.
“Unlike in other parts of the country where a high court is just another institution, herein Makhanda the High Court plays a critical role in the economy, in the social aspect, in the intellectual aspect, infact it is one of the key pillars of the economy of Makhanda. We have indicated to him that relocating this seat will leave to a devastation in terms of jobs that will be lost. Thousands of secondary jobs will be lost. Thousands of livelihoods will be lost,” says Mabizela.
Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola says that access to justice is the key point of the recommendations to move the seat of the high court to Bhisho.
“There’s issues related to access and economic impact and we are very clear that this, what has underpinned this process is access to justice. That’s why I made an example of the community in East London; (they) have to pass Bhisho to come here to this court. Those are issues that we are dealing with when we deal with rationalisation and there are also other communities like Queenstown that travel long distance. So, we need to rationalise it to enable access to justice in the whole province of the Eastern Cape,” explaned Lamola.