Home News City magistrate’s court closed after cop tests positive

City magistrate’s court closed after cop tests positive

241
SHARE

The court building was closed to members of the public on Monday morning, while everyone who had entered the premises was subjected to counselling, testing and screening.

THE KIMBERLEY Magistrate’s Court building has been closed for an indefinite period after a police officer tested positive for Covid-19. 

The court building was closed to members of the public on Monday morning, while everyone who had entered the premises was subjected to counselling, testing and screening. 

Staff, lawyers and others who attended court on Monday morning were fearful, frustrated and worried after being informed that they had to undergo testing. 

“The court was locked at around 9am and later closed off to the public at about 10am, with no one allowed in or out of the building. We were made to undergo counselling and testing on different floors and the process continued until the afternoon as about 200 people in total needed to be tested.” 

They added that only those people who were in contact with the police official for the past two weeks were tested.

“People who attended court in the past week were subjected to screening. We feel that everyone should be tested and not only screened. We are also worried about the well-being of our families when we self-isolate.”  

Concern was also raised regarding awaiting trial prisoners who were kept in the holding cells and whether they would also be tested. 

The spokesperson for the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, Chrispin Phiri, confirmed that the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court building was closed on Monday morning after a member of the SAPS tested positive for Covid-19.

“The department was informed of the test results earlier this morning. Further screening and testing is also currently under way by the Department of Health. Not all staff members have been affected, as only those who had direct contact with the official (approximately 180 persons) will undergo screening and testing and are required to self-isolate,” said Phiri.

He stated that the entire court building would be closed and sanitised. 

“The department is currently waiting for the municipality to dispatch a decontamination team to attend to the disinfection process. The department is therefore not yet in a position to indicate how long the court building will be closed.” 

Phiri added that all court cases were postponed in absentia.

“In the interim, only urgent applications will be dealt with. All persons who have been in contact with the official, including awaiting trial detainees, are being dealt with by the Department of Health, in terms of its protocols.  

“The safety and well-being of court users and officials is essential and the department will endeavour to keep the public updated as to developments in this regard.” 

Spokesperson for the MEC for the Department of Health, Lebogang Majaha, said they would first allow the National Institute of Communicable Diseases to  verify the process and await the Minister of Health’s announcement on any new cases.