Acting chief magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe yesterday warned magistrates against being partisan and corrupt, saying this would erode public confidence in the judiciary and the justice delivery systems.
Guvamombe issued the warning in Bulawayo where he was swearing in three new magistrates, Takunda Witness Mtetwa, Evelyn Mashavakure and Mzingaye Phanankosi Moyo, to the bench at Tredgold Building which houses the Bulawayo Magistrates’ Courts.
“If you become a partisan magistrate you compromise your oath and act unfairly. If you become a corrupt one you disgrace the bench on which you sit and the title you wear.
“You will as a magistrate, wield power but you must not abuse your powers and you must be above reproach. Your main thrust therefore is to enhance the dignity of the courts.
“Even one of us must wake up each morning confident that your inclusion in the judiciary and particularly the bench means that our freedom will always be protected,” said Guvamombe.
He warned the magistrates that there would not be sacred cows should anyone of them be found guilty.
“Be assured that if anyone of you is caught on the wrong side you will be ruthlessly dealt with.
“We expect the three of you (Mtetwa, Mashavakure and Moyo) to assist in fighting corruption not the other way round. We have prioritised efficiency, effectiveness and quality delivery of justice by our officials.
“This is a pact that we now have with the generality of the public and we expect all our officials to perform in terms of that pact,” he said.
Guvamombe also urged the magistrates to protect the rights of unrepresented litigants and expeditiously discharge their duties to avoid a perception that justice was only meant for the wealthy and well-connected members of the public.