HARARE – Government must consider lifting the freeze on magistrates’ recruitment as there is a serious shortage of staff in the judiciary, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) said.
Speaking at a swearing in ceremony of three trainee magistrates at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts yesterday, chief magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe said “only 201 magistrates are serving out of the required 250”.
“There are 49 vacancies in the department but unfortunately due to the job freeze imposed by Treasury, we cannot recruit,” he said.
“The JSC is seized with the matter and I am fully aware that efforts have been made to engage Treasury,” Guvamombe said.
He added: “We are aware that the working conditions of magistrates are not some of the best in the country.
I am aware of efforts to improve
them and urge you to be patient as the powers that be grapple with the task of improving them.”
The sworn-in magistrates are Perseverance Nkala, Amanda Muridzo and Isabel Nyoni, who all completed training in the civil and criminal courts divisions.
Guvamombe urged the magistrates to shun and resist corruption.
“Corruption is a cancer that has permeated all facets of society. If it is allowed to take root in the judiciary, it can undermine justice delivery by denying justice to litigants. I urge you to resist it in whatever form it may be exposed to you,” he said.
“I also wish to state that if you are caught engaging in corruption, the consequences are clear and very predictable. In that same vein, I urge members of the public and all stakeholders not to tempt our magistrates with bribes.”
He also urged magistrates to continue researching to enrich their knowledge of law and keep abreast of new policies and decisions passed by other courts.
“As you take up your new posts, I wish to reiterate that you will make independent decisions. However, those decisions must be supported by law as you will remain accountable to society,” he said.