JSC speaks on magistrates accommodation
THE Judicial Services Commission (JSC) has reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring Zimbabwe offers world class service in the justice delivery system through the ongoing improvement of facilities at various courts countrywide.
JSC acting secretary Mr Walter Chikwana said Government was working flat out to ensure the recently deployed 57 magistrates were adequately accommodated.
Mr Chikwana was speaking during a tour to assess facilities at the Gutu Resident Magistrates’ Court at Mpandawana Town.
He said upgrading facilities at existing courts and the construction of new court premises in some areas across the province would commence next week.
“The objective of this tour is to assess the state of infrastructure at our courts with a view to intervene and effect repairs where necessary,” said Mr Chikwana. “We will also make decisions to construct new buildings in some places.
‘’Today, we have started with the Gutu Magistrates Court because there is a serious shortage of office space despite the fact that it is the third busiest court in the province after Masvingo and Chiredzi.”
Mr Chikwana said the JSC secretariat will visit all seven administrative districts in Masvingo on the ground-assessment of the situation.
“Our tour is also looking at the human resource component,” he said.
“We are assessing staff complement and conditions at each court. The secretariat will this week visit all the seven districts in Masvingo, while work on infrastructural improvements will start next week across the province.”
Mr Chikwana expressed concern that staffers at the Gutu Magistrates Court were packed like ‘’sardines’’ in small offices with hardly adequate ablution facilities.
“Our staff here are squeezed in one office,” he said. “It is, therefore, our intention to build another five-roomed office block and construct more ablution facilities here in Gutu.
“We have one magistrate, Mr (Victor) Mahamadi here in Gutu. He has received over 1 000 cases from across the district since the beginning of this year. We also have a circuit court in Chatsworth, where he has dealt with over 300 cases so far. ln fact, he is over-working.
“From the new magistrates recently deployed, each district in the province got one more new magistrate, while the Masvingo Regional Court got three. Gutu did not receive any because of inadequate infrastructure.”