Cape Town, South Africa - South Africa faces a crippling judicial strike if the country’s magistrates carry out their threat to down their gavels from Monday.
The government has urged magistrates not to strike.
However, Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams said if the strike takes place, the administration of justice would not be affected because there were contingency plans in place.
Parliament has approved a notice granting a 5.5% salary increase for the thousands of magistrates around the country, but they are demanding a single pay structure for the judiciary.
This would see their salaries and benefits put on the same sliding scale as those of judges, a development that could effectively double their salaries.
Meanwhile, the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) has expressed its dismay over the impending strike.
It urged magistrates with specific problems to act with circumspection rather than deny thousands their right to speedy access to justice.
“in the context of our constitutional democracy and the separation of powers, the judiciary – of which the magistrates are a major part – is an independent arm of government and is protected as such. There are, therefore, exceptional means for any single arm of government to resolve disputes between and it and one of the other arms, or within itself,” the LSSA said in a statement.