By Mashudu Netsianda
Chief Justice Luke Malaba has lifted the ban on marriages and announced the resumption of normal court operations, including the offices of the Master and the Sheriff of the High Court following the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions by President Mnangagwa on Monday.
CJ Malaba suspended all regular court operations, including solemnisation of marriages, and scaled down other courthouse activities following the announcement of the level four lockdown in January by Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga.
The Sheriff and Messenger of Court were also ordered to stop evictions and executions, following the extended lockdown.
Courts were operating under a special regime as the country was battling to contain rising Covid-19 cases especially after the festive season.
In a statement, CJ Malaba said solemnisation of marriages should be conducted on condition that only the parties to the marriage and their witnesses attend.
“The filing and processing of new cases, process, documents, pleadings, papers and court orders, including service and execution by the Sheriff and the Messenger of Court, shall be done in terms of the applicable Court Rules, legislation or court order,” he said.
“For the avoidance of doubt, accused persons originally remanded between 5 January 2021 and 1 March 2021, remain automatically remanded to the dates stated in Practice Direction 4 of 2021. Solemnisation of marriages shall be conducted provided that only the parties to the marriage and their witnesses shall be allowed to attend.”
Entry into courtrooms shall only be limited to litigants, their lawyers, witnesses and identified members of the Press.
In terms of admission into court premises and offices, all persons will be required to undergo temperature checks, sanitise their hands at entry, wear face masks, avoid handshakes as well as maintaining social distancing.
Members of the public who have no business at court will not be allowed to access the premises.
During the period of the extended lockdown, courts were operating under a special regime as the country was battling to contain rising Covid-19 cases especially after the festive season.
The lockdown was extended twice this year in January and February.
Following extension of the lockdown, the courts were required to restrict their activities only to urgent cases such as initial remands, urgent chamber and bail applications.
Proceedings for non-urgent cases both criminal and civil matters were automatically suspended for the extended period of the lockdown which expired on Monday. The Chronicle