A proclamation that brings the Constitution Seventeenth Amendment Act and the Superior Courts Act into operation was signed by President Jacob Zuma on Friday (23/08/2013).
The Superior Courts Act repeals the Supreme Courts Act of 1959 and rationalises all laws relating to the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court of Appeal, and the high courts.
It sets up a single high court with divisions in the provinces, and gives the judiciary greater powers in setting rules for the functioning of the courts, in a bid to improve their efficiency.
"The coming into operation of the Constitution Seventeenth Amendment Act is of fundamental importance to our democracy as it entrenches our highest court in the land as the upper guardian of our Constitution and the rule of law,” Zuma said in a statement.
"The 11 judges of [the] apex court in the land have the enormous responsibility of not only guiding other courts in South Africa but also of ensuring that the laws passed by our democratic Parliament are in line with the Constitution.” Government believed the two laws would give effect to the constitutional imperative of giving all South Africans access to justice.
"The Superior Courts Act provides a workable framework to increase the capacity of the courts, improve court management, and reorganise judicial boundaries to promote access to justice,” Zuma said.
"Through this act more circuit high courts will be established to ensure that high courts are more accessible to the communities within their close proximity.” - Sapa