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UPROAR AS CJ ORDERS ALL JUDGES TO BE AT WORK

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MBABANE – Despite all institutions and government having taken stiff precautionary measures for the containment of the coronavirus, judges are expected to report to work.

Chief Justice (CJ) Bheki Maphalala has issued a practice directive informing all judges to continue working during this period. There are 13 High Court Judges, six permanent Supreme Court judges and four in the Industrial Court.  “You are reminded to report to work timesouly and execute your duties accordingly. You are further advised to observe the necessary precautions in the practice directive,” reads part of the directive.

Directive

According to the practice directive, only judicial officers who are lawfully on leave will be excused from reporting to work. It has been reliably gathered that the directive by the CJ did not sit well with most of the judges as they felt that by continuing to come to work, they were exposing themselves to the virus. “This is not only unfair but it is also discriminatory as flexible working conditions have been made for the support staff,” said one of the concerned judges. They further noted that the directive did not talk about them working from home, self-isolation or quarantining themselves but only directed them to report to work timeously. One of the judges opined that instead they should be allowed to work from home as it seemed the situation was calamitous.

“We are worried why we are not allowed to work from home as lawyers do not come to court and clearly our lives are in danger. This is the time when we should be working from home, writing reserved judgments,” added another concerned judge. The judge said sometimes they went to court only to find that there were no lawyers, no witnesses and no prosecutors, forcing them to postpone matters.  According to the judge, this had resulted in them postponing most of the matters. It was further observed by the judges that since the outbreak of the virus, no one had met with them to discuss precautionary measures they were expected to take and they mostly relied on the media for information.

 

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