Minor amendment to PAJA proposed

The Judicial Matters Amendment Bill 14 of 2016, which is currently before the National Assembly, is proposing minor amendments to the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act 3 of 2000, in order to “further regulate the designation and training of presiding officers”.

Section 29 of the Bill proposes the following amendment of PAJA:

Amendment of section 9A of Act 3 of 2000, as inserted by section 2 of Act 53 of 2002 and amended by section 9 of Act 24 of 2015.

Section 9A of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, 2000, is hereby amended—

(a) by the substitution in subsection (1) for paragraph (a) of the following paragraph:

‘‘(a) The head of an administrative region defined in section 1 of the Magistrates’ Courts Act, 1944 (Act No. 32 of 1944), or the magistrate at the head of a regional division established for the purposes of adjudicating civil disputes in terms of section 2 of the Magistrates’ Courts Act, 1944, must [,subject to subsection (2),] designate in writing any magistrate, additional magistrate or magistrate of a regional division established for the purposes of adjudicating civil disputes, as the case may be, as a presiding officer of the Magistrate’s Court designated by the Minister in terms of section 1 of this Act.’’;

(b) by the deletion of subsection (2);

(c) by the substitution for subsection (3) of the following subsection:

‘‘(3) The heads of administrative regions or magistrates at the head of regional divisions established for the purposes of adjudicating civil disputes, must[

— (a)] take all reasonable steps within available resources to designate at least one presiding officer for each magistrate’s court within his or her area of jurisdiction which has been designated by the Minister in terms of section 1 [; and

(b) without delay, inform the Magistrates Commission of any magistrate, additional magistrate or magistrate of a regional division established for the purposes of adjudicating civil disputes, who has completed a training course referred to in subsection (5) or who has been designated in terms of subsection (1)].’’;

(d) by the deletion of subsection (4); and

(e) by the substitution for subsection (8) of the following subsection:

‘‘(8) The provisions of section 12(6)[, 7] and (8) of the Magistrates’ Courts Act, 1944 (Act No. 32 of 1944), are applicable with the necessary changes required by the context.’’.