All courts, except the Constitutional Court and other superior courts currently in recess, will operate on a limited basis to deal with urgent matters during the lockdown.
This directive was issued by chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng on Wednesday.
“The chief justice has, in terms of section 165 of the constitution and section 8 of the Superior Courts Act, already delegated the authority to make custom directives to all heads of superior and lower/magistrate courts,” said the office of chief justice.
“This will enable courts to remain open and operational to a limited extent as determined by the head of each court after consultation with their colleagues at that court.”
As an essential service, the courts will remain open for the filing of papers and hearing of urgent applications, bail applications and appeals or matters relating to violations of liberty, domestic violence, maintenance and matters involving children.
Following cabinet’s decision last week to prohibit gatherings of more than 100 people to help curb the virus, the heads of court announced measures to limit attendance in court.
They said court buildings would be secured to avoid exposing judicial officers, court staff and the public to risk.
Some of the measures included the decontamination of reception areas, offices and lifts. Officials would be assigned to sanitise the hands of those entering courts.
The heads of court said a distance of one metre would be maintained between people seated in court and judicial officers and court staff had to self-isolate and seek medical intervention if they displayed any symptoms.