Labour Court presidents sworn-in

HARARE - Justice and Legal Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa has said the Labour Court is understaffed because qualified persons are shunning the jobs, owing to poor remuneration, which has created a massive backlog of cases.

Chinamasa was speaking to journalists after the swearing in ceremony of Emilia Muchawa and Phildah Muzofa as Labour Court presidents at the Supreme Court in Harare.

“Yes there is still backlog and the Judicial Service Commission is out searching for competent lawyers to appoint to the Labour Court,” Chinamasa said. “So we still need more human resources there. If we get five, that will go quite a long way.

“The challenge is backlog and expeditious handling of the cases. We would want judgments to be timeous, especially judgments that have to do with labour because labour issues affect the livelihoods of the workers and the sooner that judgment is out the better for the family of the worker and also even for the company. You do not want a dispute of a labour nature to be perpetuated over many years.”

Asked why they are not employing more people to clear the backlog, Chinamasa said: “We have to identify people who are competent. And not everybody wants to come on the bench as you know we don’t pay that well.”

The appointment of the two to the bench yesterday brought to 14, the number of Labour Court presidents.

Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku presided over Muchawa and Muzofa’s swearing in ceremony.

Muchawa and Muzofa graduated from the University of Zimbabwe in 1992 and 2002 respectively and have both worked for the Zimbabwe Women Lawyers’ Association (ZWLA).

Muchawa was employed by ZWLA for 10 years, before spending a further decade at the Legal Resource Foundation, while Muzofa, a former prosecutor, was working as a legal practitioner at the time of her appointment. - Tendai Kamhungira

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