JUSTICE and Legal Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa has bemoaned poor remuneration for judges saying it has negatively impacted on the recruitment of competent judicial officers.
This, he said, had contributed to an increase in the backlog of court cases.
Addressing journalists after the swearing-in ceremony of Emilia Muchawa and Phildah Muzofa as Labour Court presidents in Harare yesterday, Chinamasa said his ministry was concerned with the pace at which labour cases were being dealt with by the courts.
The two were sworn in by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku.
“The challenge is that not everybody wants to become a judge as you know we don’t pay well. The issue of remuneration is still a challenge because we approached some lawyers and they declined to take the offer because of salaries,” Chinamasa said.
He said the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) was still searching for competent lawyers to be recruited as Labour Court presidents to beef up the current Labour Court bench which has 14 judges.
“If we get five more presidents, I think we will be able to deal with current challenges in backlogs,” Chinamasa said.
“The other challenge that we have is expeditious handling of cases, especially judgments that affect the livelihood of workers and the firms themselves. The sooner the judgment is delivered, the better it is for both the worker and the company.”
Before joining the JSC, Muchawa had a 20-year stint with the Zimbabwe Women Lawyers’ Association (ZWLA) and Legal Resources Foundation.
Her counterpart Muzofa worked as a prosecutor and at ZWLA before joining a private Harare law firm.