DEPUTY Chief Justice, Luke Malaba has hailed the six judges at Bulawayo High Court for working hard to clear their backlogs, saying they managed to dispense of over 80% of cases brought before them.
By KHANYILE MLOTSHWA
“The disposition of criminal cases was clearly pleasing. It is because of the dedication to duty by the six judges.
The results from the Bulawayo High Court statistics display self-application, determination and sheer hard work, despite a high number of average cases each judge had to deal with,” Justice Malaba said at the official opening of the 2017 legal year at the Bulawayo High Court.
“From an analysis of these figures, there is need to expand the Bulawayo bench because the workload remains high.
The judges are still battling the carryover of the backlog from 2015, notwithstanding the good clearance rate.”
Justice Malaba’s seemingly reconciliatory speech was a complete departure from the remarks he made sometime last year, when he lambasted the city’s judicial officers, describing them as “lazy”.
The deputy Chief Justice said the Judiciary Service Commission (JSC) was battling to plug all holes to ensure corruption does not contaminate the judiciary system.
Justice Malaba said it was critical for judicial officers to “walk the talk in the fight against corruption by putting in place concrete and recognisable measures to address the ills associated with corruption”.
“The fight against corruption demands a shared commitment to eliminate it from the halls of justice,” he said.
“The stakeholders (Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), JSC, and others), agreed to streamline the investigation, prosecution and adjudication of criminal cases involving corruption in order to expedite the processes at each of the necessary stages.
“Each stakeholder has a role to play. Each is enjoined to set up specialised teams and areas to deal with corruption cases, without compromising the autonomy of the organisation. Motivated by the realisation that there was need for greater co-ordination between the ZRP, the National Prosecuting Authority and the JSC, a ‘protocol on the management of criminal cases involving corruption’ is being developed to guide the management of cases involving corruption.”
Justice Malaba also said the JSC was fighting hard to maintain judicial independence and impartiality.
“Independence and impartiality in the dispensation of justice provide useful objective tools by which to measure the effectiveness of the administration of justice,” he said.
“A corrupt judiciary cannot claim to be totally independent and impartial. A corrupt judiciary is a hindrance to an effective justice delivery system and ultimately access to justice.”