The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has partnered with the Royal Danish Embassy to construct 30 courthouses throughout the country in the next two years.
Speaking during the official opening of the Nkayi magistrates’ court last Thursday, Chief Magistrate Mr Mishrod Guvamombe, said the joint programme would address operational challenges facing the JSC.
“As JSC we have partnered with the Royal Danish Embassy to construct at least 30 courts around the country. The programme is being implemented over two years. Of the 30 courts that are being supported, Nkayi is the first court to be officially opened,” said Mr Guvamombe.
The Chief Magistrate said the construction of court buildings would ensure rural communities are able to access justice without travelling long distances.
“We are all aware that Nkayi had no proper courthouse prior to the construction of the new facility. A conducive environment is fundamental for the delivery of a world class justice system,” said Mr Guvamombe.
He also expressed concern over an increase in sexual abuse cases in the country.
“Everyday newspapers are reporting on sexual abuse cases. In our bid to make justice accessible to everyone, we have catered for vulnerable witnesses who interface with our courts. There is a victim friendly court (VFC) which will take care of all vulnerable witnesses who include children, women and men,” said Mr Guvamombe.
VFC is a specialised court which caters for witnesses in a friendly manner allowing them to give their evidence without the fear of interfacing with the perpetrator.
“We are implementing the Protocol on the Multi-sectorial Management of Sexual Abuse in Zimbabwe of 2012, which is a national response to sexual abuse in the country,” said Mr Guvamombe.
He also reiterated the need to fight corruption and urged the litigating public and other key players in the justice delivery system to join hands in fighting the scourge.
The Charge d’Affaires of the Royal Danish Embassy in Harare, Erik Brogger Rasmussen, expressed confidence in the country’s justice system and pledged that his country would continue to complement JSC efforts in addressing the challenges faced.
“We started this partnership with JSC five years ago and we have confidence and trust in the country’s justice system and the rule of law.
“Justice is a critical element in combating crime and the growth of the economy as it creates jobs,” said Rasmussen.
Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs Minister Cde Cain Mathema commended the Danish Embassy for its contribution towards the growth of the justice system in the country.
“We continue to invite the Danish government to partner us in other key developmental projects that will alleviate poverty in our communities. We have roads particularly the Bulawayo-Nkayi road and dams that need to be rehabilitated and we therefore urge you to come on board,” said Cde Mathema.