Shortage of translators at Johannesburg Magistrates' Courts

More than half of the cases heard on a daily basis in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court and its ten satellite courts demand foreign language translators, and there are not enough of them to meet demand, reports Beeld newspaper.

According to Chief Magistrate Gert Jonker, cases were being delayed because there were often no translators to assist in court. "The department is aware of the shortages, but at the moment, we're still struggling. The 30 foreign translators we currently have are inadequate," he said.

There was, in particular, an urgent need for translators in Northern Ndebele (Zimbabwe), Ibo (Nigeria), Maputo-Shangaan (Mozambique), and Mandarin (China).

Jonker said the courts had previously used part-time translators, who were not employed by the state. After a few irregularities, the department of justice had decided to appoint the translators on contract, so as to improve control mechanisms. Although there has been improvement, there is still a shortage of translators, leading to delays.


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