The Sunday Mail
Government has successfully filled 233 vacant posts previously frozen in the Judiciary and reopened 23 courts that had closed due to a critical shortage of magistrates, as it aggressively moves to establish a world-class justice-delivery system.
A moratorium on staff recruitments was lifted last year.
As part of the far-reaching interventions, new courts are presently being constructed in Mt Darwin (Mashonaland Central), Lupane (Matabeleland North) and Chinhoyi (Mashonaland West).
Judicial Services Commission (JSC) secretary Mr Walter Chikwana told The Sunday Mail that commendable progress has been made to strengthen the Judiciary.
“As the Chief Justice (Luke Malaba) has mentioned before, 233 people were recruited. This number included 60 magistrates; (consequently) the courts that had been closed have been reopened.
“We have also started building new courts in Mt Darwin, Lupane and Chinhoyi. In Mt Darwin, we have started; in Chinhoyi, we are at roof level and (in) Lupane, we have started the pre-construction preparations,” he said.
Works at the site in Chinhoyi, which had been lying dormant for years, gained traction recently after additional funds were allocated for the project.
In Lupane, the magistrates’ court was operating from the District Administrator (DA)’s complex, where some Government departments are housed, while in Mount Darwin, judicial staff operated from a dilapidated single courtroom.
Construction of the new courtrooms is expected to be completed by year-end.While officially opening the 2019 legal year, Chief Justice Luke Malaba said a new record may have been broken by JSC, whose ratio of female-to-male employees now stands at 53,6 percent.
Out of the 64 judges in the country, 34 are male while 30 are female.
Of the 249 magistrates stationed at various courts countrywide, 128 are female whilst 121 are male.
Ten magistrates were also promoted to the post of regional magistrate.
Two resident judges were also posted at the Masvingo and Mutare high courts.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa opened the Mutare High Court — the country’s fourth permanent high court — on May 7 last year.