HomeLocal NewsMagistrates’ go-slow set to continue

Magistrates’ go-slow set to continue

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The go-slow by magistrates last week spread to the whole of the Matabeleland region, a situation which seriously affected suspects and witnesses who had come to court for their cases.

At Bulawayo Magistrates’ Courts there was chaos on Friday as witnesses and suspects milled around clueless in the court corridors waiting to hear what would become of their cases.

The situation also affected inmates brought from remand prisons who had come for their sentences as they were forced to remain in prison longer, awaiting the determination of their cases as magistrates were locked-up in marathon meetings.

Later the courts heard remanding cases only. The courts did not entertain bail applications resulting in some suspects coming for initial remand being placed in custody.

All magistrates in the Matabeleland region in Bulawayo on Friday converged for a meeting with their association’s president Douglas Chikwekwe, from Midlands province.

Sources who attended the meeting said the magistrates unanimously agreed to continue on go-slow pending response from head office in Harare.

“We have agreed that we continue the go-slow. On Monday (today) we are going to formally give our employer a notice to go on strike on Wednesday. This is the position of all the magistrates in the Matabeleland region,” said a magistrate who refused to be named.

However, efforts to get a comment from Chikwekwe were fruitless as his mobile phone was not reachable.
Meanwhile, clerks of court have joined the go-slow in solidarity with their colleagues.

Magistrates are demanding a salary increase — that would make the lowest paid magistrate receive $1 000 per month from their employer, the Judicial Services Commission (JSC).

The magistrates want their salaries to be in tandem with their counterparts in the southern African region.

According to a proposal sent to the JSC acting secretary, Supreme Court judge Justice Rita Makarau, they are demanding $600 for trainee magistrates, $1 000 for junior magistrates, $1 500 for senior magistrates, $1 700 for provincial magistrates, $2 000 for senior provincial magistrates, $2 500 for regional magistrates, $2 700 for senior regional magistrates,
$3 000 for deputy chief magistrates and $3 300 for chief magistrates.

In the January 21 letter signed by the acting chief magistrate Hlekani Mwayera, she said Zimbabwean magistrates earned far below their counterparts in South Africa and Namibia.

Court interpreters also submitted their own position paper demanding monthly salaries of between R7 800 and R16 500 a month which is equivalent to their South African counterparts’ monthly earnings.

They presently earn between $147 and $163 between the junior interpreter and the chief interpreter.

Interpreters demanding to be considered as professionals instead of being regarded as support staff saying they hold relevant qualifications.

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