Illiteracy, poverty and the major backlog created on trials since the Polokwane Magistrate’s Court burnt down in October 2012 are the biggest challenges Limpopo’s justice system faces.
This according to newly appointed Limpopo Judge President Ephraim Makgoba. “People are not educated and don’t know their right to access to the justice system. They also don’t have money to fight for their rights as legal aid only covers basic cases and affordability of accredited attorneys and lawyers is just not a realistic option for some,” Makgoba said.
His duties as Judge President are similar to that of a school principal. “I am heading the courts in Limpopo and will still preside over certain cases,” he said, adding that daily court proceedings such as hearing cases, especially on commercial and administrative law matters, keep him interested in the job.
Makgoba was born on New Year’s Day in 1953 at Mathabatha Village and matriculated at Ngwana-Mohube High School outside Polokwane whereafter he attained the degree B.Proc at the then University of the North.
Following his admission as attorney in February 1980 he lectured part-time in criminal law and criminal proceedings at his alma mater. He further practiced for his own account as attorney in Polokwane from 1984 to 1992 as well as in the local firm of Magoba Kgomo and Makgaleng Attorneys from 1983 to 2007. From 1998 to 2007 he was an instructor in Professional Ethics, Magistrate’s Court and High Court practice at the School of Legal Practice in Polokwane.
He was acting judge of the High Court from 2000 to 2007 and has been a full-time judge since 2008.
“As a practicing attorney I trained and produced 12 candidate attorneys who are currently successful lawyers. Nare Frans Kgomo, currently High Court Judge of the South Gauteng Local Division in Johannesburg is one my trained candidates,” Makgoba said with reference to his contribution to the legal profession.
Makgoba is humbled about his new position. “It is a great challenge to build the province’s justice system from the foundation to new heights,” he said.
When he is not at court he enjoys spending time with his wife, watches sport, is actively involved in church activities and loves to read.