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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

JSC Pledges to establish Magistrates courts in every district

Story by Tamuka Charakupa

RESIDENTS of Chimanimani have welcomed the government’s move to decentralise critical services across the country after the establishment of a Magistrates Court in the district early this month.

The official opening of the Chimanimani Magistrates Court early this month came as a major relief to residents who have been travelling at least 70 kilometres to Chipinge for court cases.

A resident said, ‘‘We had to travel about 70km to Chipinge to attend courts, which was not only expensive but risky given our unpredictable weather patterns.’’

Another resident noted, ‘‘The fact that there is a resident magistrate now means all the backlogs will be cleared. We were also encountering incidents of missing or lost dockets being everything was being done in Chipinge.’’

Another added, ‘‘As a witness, sometimes you ended up skipping court sessions because it was expensive to travel and with no compensation for expenses in the event you were not served so this is a welcome development.’’

Secretary of the Judicial Service Commission, Mr Walter Chikwana said significant progress has been made to establish magistrate courts in every district and High Courts in each of the country’s ten provinces.

‘‘We are here to monitor the progress made since we officially opened the Chimanimani Magistrates Court on the 1st of February and we are now looking forward to constructing more offices and witness shades. At a national scale, we intend to ensure every district has a Magistrates court and now works are in progress in Gwanda to establish a multi-purpose building which will house a high court as part of our decentralisation process.’’

Mr Chikwana also spoke on the progress made towards the implementation of an integrated electronic case management system.

‘‘Zimbabwe boasts among the tops in the region to implement the IECMS. We have also introduced the concept of virtual hearings where we rolled the first phase in the supreme, constitutional court and the commercial division of con court. 

“We are now rolling out the second phase where we have gone live in labour court hearings and in the administrative court. We are implementing the system stage by stage and they reflect on challenges and successes.’’

Government has made strides towards decentralisation of all critical services across the country through the national mandate of leaving no one and no place behind in the country’s development agenda.

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