Pretoria - Many people were unhappy this week at being turned back after the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court postponed hearings due to an unexpected power outage seemingly caused by the explosion of a sub-station.
To add to court attendants’ miseries, a back-up generator used to power the entire building stopped working.
It was reported that the sub-station explosion took place on Monday, after the load shedding schedule ended and power was restored to the area.
Public Works and Infrastructure spokesperson Thami Mcunu said: “The generator at the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court is fully operational. It is however reported that the generator is without diesel, which is not the department’s responsibility, but that of a client.”
The situation appeared to be back to normal, and court officials, who could not be named because they were not authorised to speak to the media, said power had been restored.
Justice spokesperson Chrispin Phiri said: “I am advised that the City of Tshwane has restored power.”
There was concern this week among lawyers and the public – among them complainants and survivors of crime, that justice and their court cases would be delayed, after criminal cases were postponed. Some civil matters, it was reported, were still being heard by yesterday afternoon.
Asked if the court had assessed the case backlog and how it would delay justice to crime victims and accused, Phiri said: “The judicial officers will advise litigants on how their cases will run.”
City spokesperson Selby Bokaba said the blackout was the result of flooding that affected the sub-station supplying power to buildings in Bosman, and Pretorius streets towards Sophie De Bryun and one side of Francis Baard streets.
“There is constant water flow to the basement of the building. Public Works has to use a water pump to drain the water. Due to extended load shedding, the pump’s operations are affected.
Bokaba said the building was abandoned, so vagrants helped themselves to water components leading to the water leaks in the basement.