Ongwediva — The Judiciary will not renew the contracts of seven foreign magistrates whose contracts end in August, November and December this year.
"The contracts that have expired will not be renewed, as we have competent Namibian candidates to fill up those positions," said Public Relations Officer in the Office of the Judiciary Selma Mwaetako.
Mwaetako took over office this week from then Chief Public Relations Officer Yvette Husselmann.
Husselmann last week maintained the Judiciary is not laying off any foreign magistrates but is simply replacing them. "The magistrates are not being laid off, their contracts have come to an end," Husselmann said.
Asked whether the none renewal of the contracts will not result in a shortage of magistrates, Husselmann made the assurance there is enough local capacity comprising of Namibians with the requisite academic qualifications.
Chief Justice Peter Shivute during his annual legal year opening speech cited a shortage of both judicial officers and court support staff as some of the reasons of the backlog at the magistrates' courts.
According to the Chief Justice, magistrates' courts registered 38 435 cases during the period January to September 2017 and finalised a paltry 19 140 which amounts to 50 percent of cases completed.
Shivute thus expressed concern at the rate at which the backlog is building up.
"The inadequacy of courtrooms, the malfunctioning and not enough recording equipment, and the shortage of both judicial and support staff have been cited by the magistracy as the reasons for the less than satisfactory statistics that I have just described."
Still on foreign employees, the Ministry of Health and Social Services planned to avert the renewal of foreign nurses in order to pave way for the hundreds unemployed nurses in the country.
New Era last year reported that out of 714 foreign employees in the country, 314 were nurses.
However, the Ministry of Health made a U-turn to renew and extend the contracts of the foreign nurses saying the approach was wrong and created confusion and uncertainty.