Home » Legal and Judicial Affairs » Chidyausiku Warns Lazy Magistrates

LOCAL magistrates should earn their money through working requisite hours and stop clogging up the country’s trial schedule through loafing, Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku has said.

Chidyausiku said the Judicial Services Commission (JSC), which employs the court officials, was concerned about the unnecessary prejudicing of the state by magistrates who work for very few hours, a situation he said has created a huge trial backlog in local courts.

“The returns on the number of hours spent by magistrates in court show that in 2010, magistrates were spending an average of 20 hours per month in court. The laziest among the magistrates were spending as

little as two hours per month in court,” he said.

Chidyausiku was speaking in Norton this past week during the official opening of a court building whose construction was jointly sponsored by the Danish government.

He said the law required magistrates to spend at the very least a minimum of 62 hours per month while performing their duties within their courts.

“As for now, every magistrate is required to spend, at least 62 hours in court per month. Failure to do so, we will demand explanation people would be held to account,” said Chidyausiku.

The JSC, he added, has put in place systems to make sure that the courts are open like any other office at the start of business every day.

He applauded efforts made thus far by the JSC and other arms of government to eradicate corruption in the judiciary and warned that appropriate action shall be taken on those caught on the wrong side of the law.

“I am pleased to note that the efforts we have invested in fighting corruption seem to be bearing fruit but this is not to say we will let our guard down,” Chidyausiku said.

“Corruption remains a national scourge that is eating at the very heart of our society and we will continue to fight and send deterrent sentences to those found on the wrong side of the law.

“Of late there has been a significant drop in the number of reported cases of corruption in the magistracy. I am not however suggesting that corruption in the magistracy has been totally eliminated.

“We are still receiving reports of corruption and whenever such reports are received, appropriate action is taken with our policy of zero tolerance to corruption.”

Denmark has availed funds for the refurbishment of courthouses and construction of some across the country as part of its human rights assistance to Zimbabwe.

The project is meant to ensure the majority of citizens in the country have accessible to justice.

According to Chidyausiku at least 50% of the country’s courts are operating in rented accommodation or substandard buildings.

Source : New Zimbabwe

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