The Sunday News
Munyaradzi Musiiwa, Sunday News Reporter
THE Judicial Service Commission last year dismissed two judges and five magistrates from service on allegations of corruption to inefficiency and incompetency.
Officially opening the 2021 legal year, Chief Justice of Zimbabwe, Justice Luke Malaba said the JSC under the NDS1 seeks to achieve improved justice delivery as a national outcome.
“An efficient Judiciary is the hallmark of an effective system of justice. The concept of justice is used to mean the manifestation of acting in accordance with the procedural requirements of the Constitution or a constitutionally valid law and granting an effective remedy to protect public interest or enforce rights violated or likely to be violated by conduct constituting the cause of action.
In 2020 two judges had cases of misconduct referred by the JSC to the President to set up tribunals to investigate the question of their removal from office. Five (5) magistrates went through disciplinary hearings, resulting in their discharge from service on allegations ranging from corruption to inefficiency and incompetency,” he said.
Chief Justice Malaba said the JSC would complement Government in the execution and implementation of the National Development Strategy (1) which was commissioned by President Mnangagwa last year.
“With regards the justice sector, the strategy envisages enhanced capacity for an independent and competent Judiciary, able to deal with any injustices and violations of the law. In other words, the National Development Strategy is based on the acceptance of the principle that a competent Judiciary is an efficient and effective means for the achievement of the national goals.
“Under the NDS1, the Government seeks to achieve improved justice delivery as a national outcome. In this regard, an efficient and effective Judiciary is a critical player, whose role in the attainment of the national objective is indispensable. Among the strategies to be implemented by Government to promote greater access to justice are decentralisation of courts, establishment of an integrated electronic case management system, reviewing and rationalising legal costs, improving physical access to the courts by people with disabilities, simplification of court procedures and strengthening and capacitating the justice delivery institutions,” he said.
Chief Justice Malaba said just like any other institution, the JSC has bee affected by Covid-19 and 31 of its members have reportedly contracted the disease.
“The disease has now escalated to a level not experienced before as the nation enters the year 2021. The numbers of new infections and deaths continue to rise. On 5 January 2021 the country recorded 1 365 new COVID-19 cases and 34 deaths in one day. This was the highest number of infections in a day since the first case was reported in the country in March 2020. The Judicial Service Commission (“the JSC”) has not been spared by this virulent disease. Currently there is a total of 31 confirmed cases amongst the members of the organisation. Two members are in critical condition. One died on 5 January 2021,” he said.