Home | News | STAND-OFF OVER NEW COURT BUILDING

STAND-OFF OVER NEW COURT BUILDING

Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font

BIG BEND – The director of public prosecutions (DPP) has intervened in an attempt to solve a serious stand-off between judicial officers at the new Big Bend Magistrates Court.


The judicial officers are reportedly not seeing eye to eye over hearing matters at the new court building, which was officially opened by the Chief Justice, Bheki Maphalala, in July this year.


The situation is said to be serious such that remand hearings and some trials have reportedly been postponed as the judicial officers were unable to work together.


According to insiders privy to the full details of the matter, one of the judicial officers is reluctant to work from the new court building. Instead, he prefers the old building, which the magistrates court used to share with the Eswatini National Court (Big Bend).


“This judicial officer, who doesn’t want to hear matters at the new court building, reports for work at the old court building while the other judicial officers go to the new court building. When he is called to come to the new building, he refuses and tells the other judicial officers to go to the old court building, hence the impasse,” said an insider.


Confusion


For the past couple of weeks, matters have reportedly been postponed due to this confusion, added the insider.
“What usually happens is that suspects and warders go to the new court building while court orderlies and the judicial officers go to the old court building,” said the insider.


About a week ago, Acting Lubombo Principal Magistrate Donald Mavuso reportedly convened a meeting with all stakeholders in an attempt to solve the impasse.


Present during the meeting were police officers, warders and judicial officers from Big Bend Magistrates Court, except for one of the judicial officers who is reluctant to work from the new court building.
According to insiders, it was agreed during the meeting that all matters should be heard at the new Big Bend Magistrates Court Building, as authorised by the chief justice.


However, one of the judicial officers is reportedly adamant to continue reporting for work at the old court building.
It is unclear why the officer insists on using the old court building.


“The judicial officer has a fully-fledged office at the new court building and there are offices of other judicial officers yet at the old court building, there are no such facilities,” said the insider. On Tuesday, DPP Phila Dlamini visited Big Bend Magistrates Court together with Melusi Lukhele, the Senior Crown Prosecutor for Lubombo.


They reportedly held a meeting with the judicial officers involved in the stand-off and other stakeholders.


Downplayed


When he was called yesterday, the DPP downplayed the seriousness of the matter. He sounded as if his visit was part of his duties of ensuring the smooth operation of courts, specifically the Prosecution Department.


“It is the duty of the DPP to visit all courts and listen to concerns (of prosecutors). Whenever there are concerns, he (DPP) has to address them. When we work there are usually misunderstands but that was not the reason for our visit,” said the DPP.


He disputed that some judicial officers had boycotted the court because of this judicial officer who is reportedly reluctant to work from the new court building.
Two of the judicial officers involved in the stand-off asked not to comment on the matter when they were called yesterday afternoon.
They referred all questions to the DPP.


The judicial officer who is reluctant to move to the new court building could not be reached for comment at the time of compiling this report yesterday evening.
The Big Bend Magistrates Court building was handed over to the Judiciary by the Big Bend Business against Crime, an organisation of mostly businesspeople based in Big Bend.
The structure used to be owned by Ubombo Sugar Limited and the business community decided to renovate it so it could be used as a court.

Comments (0 posted):

Post your comment comment

Please enter the code you see in the image:

: Scholarship recovery
Do you think the Ministry of Labour and Social Security is ready to take over the scholarship recovery project?