There was a constitutional need for a single judiciary in South Africa, Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke said in Johannesburg on Saturday.
The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development said Moseneke made these comments at a two-day Magistrate's Conference.
"It is clear from chapter eight of the Constitution that the magistracy must be integrated into the broader judicial system," said Moseneke.
"We should strive to achieve a single judiciary."
The department said Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Johnny de Lange had called for a more seamless judicial structure at the conference.
"We want a situation where you have someone who starts in the traffic courts but who knows he can one day be chief justice."
He said the lower judiciary was created for an apartheid system.
"Now we ask: Is it the right structure for a democracy? We're restructuring the high courts and need to look at the lower courts structure [of regional and district]."
Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Brigitte Mabandla said effective government had to have unity of purpose and a seamless link between its components.
Earlier, Moseneke said the biggest threat to the judiciary's independence could come from within the judiciary itself by those who failed to uphold ethics.
"All activities of a judge must be compatible with the status of a judicial office ... a judge must comply with the law of the land," he said.
Moseneke said while a few judicial officers may have attracted the impression that "complying with the law is dispensable", the overwhelming majority meticulously honoured their oath to office.
full story from M&G here