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Gwanda High Court construction in progress

by Staff reporter
02 Oct 2022 at 09:00hrs | Views
THE construction of a state-of-the-art court complex that is expected to house the High Court is in progress in Gwanda, the provincial capital of Matabeleland South Province as part of the country's efforts to move the wheels of justice closer to the people, Chief Justice Luke Malaba has said.

Speaking at the official opening of the Lupane magistrate court in Matabeleland North Province, Chief Justice Malaba said the High Court will be housed in the same complex with the magistrate's court as well as the office of the Sheriff.

"If everything goes according to plan, there shall be a High Court sitting in Gwanda in Matabeleland South Province, where the Judicial Service Commission is in the process of building a state-of-the-art court complex. The plan is to have the court complex house the High Court, the magistrate's court and the office of the Sheriff.

"The court complex in Gwanda which is still in progress comes after the opening of the Chinhoyi court complex which was done late last year," said Chief Justice Malaba.

He said the JSC objective is to have a High Court in every province.

"Upon its completion, the Gwanda court complex will be a source of pride for the people of Matabeleland South. The goal is to have a High Court in every province, starting of course with those provinces that already have the High Court sitting as a circuit court. The Judicial Service Commission may therefore be back in Matabeleland North with a High Court after the construction of the High Court in the Midlands Province," he said.

The construction of the Gwanda High Court complex is in compliance with the constitutional principle of devolution of essential services and infrastructural development provided by the State.

"The Judicial Service Commission has adopted a policy of ensuring that courts are fairly distributed in all Provinces and that there is a courthouse where the consideration of factors such as data, distance and devolution justify the decision to construct such a courthouse. The objective is to ensure easy access to justice for the people where they live. Courts are places where justice must not only be done and seen to be done; they must be symbols of peace in the community which are easily accessible for the resolution of disputes. A community without an accessible court within reasonable distance is denied the protection of a fundamental human right," said Chief Justice Malaba.

Meanwhile, the Gweru City Council is said to have rejected a request by the JSC for land to construct a court in Mkoba. This was after the JSC secured stands in Bulawayo from the city council to build magistrates courts in Cowdray Park and Emganwini to serve people in those areas.

"The Judicial Service Commission is grateful to Epworth Town Council and Bulawayo City Council for responding positively to its requests for land on which to build courts for residents to ensure the protection of their constitutional right of access to the courts. Harare City Council has reacted positively to the Judicial Service Commission's request for land on which to build courts and a process is currently underway to identify suitable land or buildings the Harare City Council can provide for the erection of, or conversion into, courthouses.

"The engagements with Gweru City Council, however, met with no success as the request for land on which to build a court in Mkoba was rejected by the City Council. The need to locate courts close to the people is a constitutional imperative, binding on all institutions of Government including those responsible for local governance. It is hoped that Gweru City Council will soon appreciate its constitutional responsibility and respond positively by cooperating with the Judicial Service Commission in the endeavour to provide courthouses close to the people," said Chief Justice Malaba.

Secretary for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Advocate Virginia Mabiza weighed in saying access to justice was the enabler for the ultimate realisation of all other fundamental human rights.

"Every person, regardless of gender, colour, race, creed, class or other status is entitled to the equal protection of the law and to seek and obtain judicial remedies from the courts. It is therefore important that the courts are closer to the people. This is the direction that the Second Republic is going with its decentralisation and devolution agenda. We are looking forward to the continued decentralisation of the courts and the establishment of the High Court in all the provinces. We also look forward to the establishment of specialised courts in all the provinces," said Adv Mabiza.

Source - The Sunday News
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