Judicial

Justice ministry budget allocation not enough for the upgrade of courts: Dausab

Summary

Justice Minister, Yvonne Dausab said a total of N.dollars 17.2 million allocated for the maintenance and upgrade programme of facilities during the 2021/22 financial year will not be sufficient for the urgent need to further upgrade and renovate existi…

Justice Minister, Yvonne Dausab said a total of N.dollars 17.2 million allocated for the maintenance and upgrade programme of facilities during the 2021/22 financial year will not be sufficient for the urgent need to further upgrade and renovate existing courts and facilities.

Dausab, while speaking in Parliament on Monday, said the renovation of courts and facilities will provide a safe and conducive working environment for judicial officers and court officials.

She said no budgetary provision was made for the filling of vacant posts in respect of judges, magistrates and court staff for improved service delivery as this allocation will not be sufficient to cater for this purpose.

With the introduction of new reforms at the courts, more personnel will be required, and implementation is mandatory, she noted.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has had a detrimental effect on the finalisation rate of especially criminal cases which is the reason why the backlog of cases in the magistrate's courts has increased. “There is, therefore, an urgent need for additional judicial officers and court personnel to be employed to ensure that service delivery is improved,” said Dausab.

Additionally, the Minister said there is also a need for the structure of magistrates to be expanded in order for it (structure) to be comparable with the expected international ratio of a prosecutor to a magistrate.

“It is important to mention that magistrates are not only responsible for criminal matters, but are also adjudicating on civil, labour, family court and other quasi-judicial functions. They also perform many other non-judicial functions on behalf of other Offices, Ministries, and Agencies (O/M/As),” she said.

Dausab also noted that the operational budget has been reduced to N.dollars 371 152 000 for the 2021/22 financial year describing it as a challenging task for the Judiciary and court operations.

Of the total amount budgeted for operations 76 per cent is earmarked for personnel expenditure, resulting in only N.dollars 89 420 000 for the operational needs of the Judiciary. This, the minister said, has left less room for budgetary flexibility when there is a need, as now, to economise.

Source: Namibia Press Agency