17 January 2019

Zimbabwe: More Criminal Courts for Harare

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has embarked on an exercise to establish more criminal courts in Harare's populous suburbs to cope with the high crime rate.

The decentralisation of the Magistrates' Court in Harare also seeks to decongest the two stations at Rotten Row Building and Mbare, in line with JSC's thrust of promoting access to justice for all.

Officially opening the 2019 Legal Year in Harare on Monday, Chief Justice Luke Malaba said new court stations will be set up in Mabvuku, Epworth and Budiriro.

"The facilities at the two criminal courts (Mbare and Rotten Row) can no longer cope with the workload coming from the numerous police stations in and around the city," he said.

"There is, therefore, a need to increase the number of courts servicing Harare Metropolitan.

"To that end, I have instructed the Acting Secretary (for JSC) to engage all the relevant stakeholders, including Harare City Council, so that we decentralise operations to populous places like Mabvuku, Tafara, Epworth, Budiriro and others."

Chief Justice Malaba said the decentralisation project started this year.

He said the city's population was ballooning, hence the need for more courts.

"While the city has been expanding and its population increasing over the last decades, there has not been a corresponding increase in court facilities," said Chief Justice Malaba.

JSC last year, he said, acquired a more spacious building to accommodate the Labour Court along Rotten Row in Harare.

"It is the JSC's vision that the Labour Court moves to the new premises in the first half of 2019," he said.

Chief Justice Malaba said the Commission acquired Bristols Building along Kwame Nkrumah Avenue to house the Commercial Court.

The Commercial Court is a division of the High Court that expeditiously deals with all business-related disputes in line with Government's thrust of improving ease of doing business in the country.

"That is an initiative dedicated to improving the state of the country's economy through encouraging the reopening of factories and inviting foreign direct investment," he said.

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