BY DARLINGTON MWASHITA
PROVINCIAL Magistrate Elias Magate has raised concern over the broken down lifts at the Bulawayo Tredgold Courts which inhibit people with disabilities from accessing courts in the upper floors.
Magate made the remarks at an Indaba organised by Plan International in conjunction with the Federation of Organisation of Disabled People in Zimbabwe (FODPZ) in Bulawayo on Wednesday.
He said access to justice was a right for every citizen, including people living with disabilities (PLWDs), but expressed concern over unrepaired lifts at the Tredgold Courts Buildings.
The indaba was held to celebrate the international day for persons with disabilities and to discuss their day to day challenges.
“We ensure there is easy access to court buildings when it comes to people with disabilities, as the new courts that are being built have ramps so that people in wheelchairs can easily access court rooms. Our only problem is at provincial court Tredgold, where lifts last worked a long time ago and the building has four floors,” Magate said.
He said some of the judiciary services are offered on different floors of the building which makes it difficult for PLWDs to access court rooms.
“Some of our services are offered in fourth and third floor, but we are being innovative. If a person comes who cannot access these floors we relocate the court and come to the ground floor so that a person with disabilities can easily access the court,” Magate said.
On the issue of sign language, Magate said lack of people who could interpret sign language results in delays in finalising cases.
He, however, applauded partners who usually come to the court’s rescue by bringing in sign language interpreters.
He advised people with delayed cases to approach magistrates and prosecutors with their complaints.
“If your case has been delayed do not just go away frowning quietly, you have to ask to see the resident magistrate who have been instructed to attend to complaints from people,” Magate said.
He urged people who were not happy with the services they get at courts to also make reports.