Proposed Magistrates Salary Scales: consideration

NCOP Security and Justice

11 September 2006
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Meeting report

SELECT COMMITTEE ON SECURITY AND CONSTITUTIONAL MATTERS: PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE

SELECT COMMITTEE ON SECURITY AND CONSTITUTIONAL MATTERS: PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
12 August 2006
PROPOSED MAGISTRATES SALARY SCALES: CONSIDERATION

Chairperson
: Kgoshi L M Mokoena

Documents handed out:
Letter on Remuneration of Judges
Letter on Remuneration of Magistrates
Association of Regional Magistrates of Southern Africa (ARMSA) submission on Magistrates Remuneration

SUMMARY
The Committee discussed the proposed ‘increments’ to the magistrate’s salaries and the accompanying benefits. A concern was raised that the government was offering only to guarantee collateral if the magistrates decided to purchase vehicles. Moreover a magistrate was acquiring the vehicle in his own private capacity. Some members did not like the idea of non-differentiated, salary scales. Blanket salary scales did not offer incentives to retain magistrates nor did it acknowledge experience as everyone would be paid the same salary irrespective of the years served. The Committee agreed that the Department of Justice be asked to clarify the proposed changes on 19 September before any decision was made.

MINUTES
Proposed Magistrates Salaries: Committee Consideration
Mr S Shiceka (ANC:Gauteng) referred to Letter on Remuneration of Magistrates, Conditions Applicable to All Ranks of Magistrates in Respect of Allowances and Benefits, 3(g) Motor vehicle Financing Benefit for all Ranks of Magistrates. He asked why the magistrates were not allowed to join any other scheme if they were taking loans in their own capacity and at their risk.

The Chairperson replied that the reason for the classifications was to prevent the practice of being compensated on two fronts or getting two government loans.

Mr Shiceka expressed concern that department was not going to offer any substantial help besides offering a guarantee of collateral to the magistrate when purchasing the vehicle.

Mr M Mzizi (IFP: Gauteng) shared Mr Shiceka's concern that the government was not subsidizing the magistrates when it came to the purchasing of vehicles but only providing collateral.

Mr N Mack (ANC: Western Cape) asked who would cover the magistrate in the case of an emergency was it a third party insurance, their own insurance or the government.

Mr Shiceka asked why there were no longer differential salary scales. He argued that this not only offered incentives in order to retain personnel, it also recognized and appreciated experience.

Mr Mzizi pointed out that the system of different salary scales in recognition of service had been done away with because it was being manipulated and there were a lot of fraudulent dealings going on. He argued that such a practice did not always work.

Dr J van Heerden (FF+: Free State) commented that he had only received the Letter on Remuneration of Magistrates that morning so had been unable to study it. He asked for clarification of 3(c) as he was not clear whether the motor vehicle was strictly for official work or could also be used for private purposes.

Mr Shiceka replied that this issue was adequately covered in 3(k) and (i).

Mr D Worth (DA: FreeState) aired his concern on giving the magistrates a substantial increase. He was of the opinion that it would lead to a deficiency of prosecutors as most would want to become magistrates. The reason for this was that magistrates and prosecutors hold the same qualification. In addition prosecutors would also want a substantial increase. He based his argument on points 64-67 of the ARMSA submission.

The Chairperson responded by saying that this was not under consideration at that moment.

Dr van Heerden agreed with the Chair. He added that the stakeholder proposals, on which Mr Worth based his argument, were one sided and they had not heard the prosecutors’ side.

Mr M Mzizi asked why there was a contradiction in 3(j) of the Letter on Remuneration of Magistrate. He did not understand why the department would reimburse toll and parking fees only away from the usual workplace.

Mr Shiceka replied that workplace parking was by prearranged agreement between magistrate and department but if one were to incur parking costs while on duty away from the usual workplace, then one could make a claim.

Mr Mack asked how magistrates in the rural areas who travel long hours to get to the next work place are covered compensated for this, considering that they need to rest.

Mr Shiceka replied that if the magistrates traveled in excess of 500 kilometres per month, the magistrate would be compensated.

Ms F Nyanda (ANC: Mpumalanga) suggested that they call in the department to clarify issues on which the members were not clear before deciding on the proposals.

Mr A Moseki (ANC: North West) noted that the matters that needed to be discussed, before the Committee voted on the proposals, were not really fundamental issues but just needed clarity.

The Chairperson agreed to this suggestion since they were not being rushed to vote on the proposals.

The meeting was adjourned.

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