10 July 2018

Zimbabwe: Govt Recruits 60 More Magistrates As Courts Grapple Understaffing

Photo: Joe Gratz/Flickr
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The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has recruited 60 new magistrates to be deployed across the country in efforts to reduce trial backlog as well as improve the justice delivery system.

This comes at a time JSC is grappling with a shortage of magistrates, a situation that could compromise justice delivery, according Chief Justice, Luke Malaba.

Speaking at an event to mark the induction programme for newly appointed magistrates at Rotten Row on Monday, Malaba said JSC was still understaffed despite the new enrolment upsurge.

"You may all be aware that your recruitment comes at a time when magistracy is severely understaffed.

"We lobbied the government to lift the freeze on critical posts within the organisation. The JSC is grateful that government acceded to its request," he said.

It is reported that the country's courts were operating on a 210 strong staff when about 300 magistrates were needed.

The country's top jurist said the shortage was a result of a general recruitment freeze by government.

He said the general employment freeze by government did not allow the department to employ more staff and that affected all government ministries and departments.

The magistrates' training will run for seven weeks and trainers include High Court Judges and top magistrates.

After the training, the new magistrates will be sworn in before they are deployed to various towns and provinces to start the job.

Malaba urged them to bring a change into the country's justice delivery system and ensure that justice is delivered without fear or favour.

He also urged them to shun corruption and stick magistracy ethics.

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