By Leonard Ncube
The Judiciary Service Commission (JSC) has set aside close to $1 million to construct a provincial magistrates’ court for Matabeleland North Province in Lupane next year.
This comes amid revelations that the JSC has approached the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority about baboons that destroy roof tiles at the Hwange court building that is also set to get a major facelift on a separate budget of
A few months ago JSC appointed senior magistrate Mr Livard Philemon to head Matabeleland North after separating the province from Bulawayo so that it could stand on its own.
At the moment the provincial magistrate is operating from the Hwange magistrates’ court and will move to Lupane once the provincial court complex is completed before the end of 2019.
JSC acting secretary Mr Walter Chikwanha recently said the budget had been approved by Treasury.
“When Chief Justice (Luke Malaba) opened the 2018 legal year he indicated that enhancing administration and access to justice was going to be the theme to guide operations.
“We were then mandated to move around to assess state of affairs and realised that it was a mistake to amalgamate Bulawayo and Matabeleland North into one province. We have already separated the two and met the legal requirements to do so,” said Mr Chikwanha.
The Lupane magistrates’ court is housed at the District Administrators’ Office building.
Other court stations in the province include Binga, Inyathi, Tsholotsho and Victoria Falls.
“Special attention is being given to two courts — Hwange and Lupane. Lupane must be the provincial court but there is no court building.
“We have to build a new court and Treasury has approved our bid meaning to say we will immediately construct a court complex at a cost of just under $1 million and will be ready before end of 2019,” said Mr Chikwanha.
He said the court complex will have enough office space to accommodate three courtrooms, three magistrates and all JSC provincial departmental heads.
Mr Chikwanha said the High Court Circuit and regional court would not be moved from Hwange as their sitting was gazetted.
Hwange magistrates’ court is currently the only station in Matabeleland North legally approved to house the two.
Mr Chikwanha, however, said in future if need be, Lupane could also be gazetted and the province might have two High Court and regional courts venues.
JSC will also spend $100 000 to replace furniture at the Hwange magistrates’ court which houses the High Court circuit and regional courts.
Mr Chikwanha said the Hwange magistrates’ court building was in a sorry state because of termites that had destroyed woodwork and plumbing material and baboons that had destroyed the roof.
“We have done a complete overhaul of plumbing and carpentry while the roof is being repaired. We are also repainting the building as well as putting a shed at the car park.
“We had to bring in experts who identified and destroyed the termite nest. Hwange is the biggest court complex in the province hence its justifiable to spend such a substantial amount,” added Mr Chikwanha.
He said the JSC approached the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority about baboons that destroy roof tiles at the court building. Sunday News.