The Judicial Service Commission and Gweru City Council are embroiled in accusations over slow progress in the construction of a court complex in the city.
The planned construction of the complex is part of plans to decentralise courts in Gweru but the JSC claims that council was not playing ball by failing to avail land.
JSC Secretary Walter Chikwana said they had approached the city council for land to construct a court in Mkoba, but their request had been rejected by the local authority.
“Unfortunately, here in Gweru we haven’t been successful with the city council. Our engagements with them have not been successful we are hopeful that in time they will come to us and offer us because our first request was declined,” Chikwana said. “We hope that in time they will realise that what we are trying to do is a public service that we are offering to members of the public and for the residents of Gweru to benefit from, “he added.
The programme to decentralise courts has already started in all the major cities in Zimbabwe, according to Chikwana.
“It’s a national program that we are rolling out to all major cities, in Harare, Mutare, Gweru, Bulawayo to start with, so this is what we have done so far. “
He said the JSC had already been availed stands in Bulawayo`s Nkulumane and Cowdray Park residential suburbs where the construction of the facilities was now under way. Chikwana also said discussions with the Mutare City Council for a similar arrangement were promising, save for Gweru, where the city council was not forthcoming.
However, Gweru City Council Spokesperson Vimbai Chingwaramusee said that it was the JSC at fault as it had not chosen the piece of land it wanted from those on offer.
“JSC proposed the city of Gweru that they wanted to set up a court in Mkoba, but unfortunately the place they wanted to set up a court was a beer hall and as a local authority we felt that it’s not ideal for a court, renowned court to do so because the place was set up for recreational activities.” Chingwaramuses said.
She added: “The JSC were shown various places that were suitable for them to set up a court but they never returned with feedback. They toured the places with our city planner but unfortunately they never came back to us , the option was for them to pick one piece of land and come to us telling us which piece of land they were comfortable with ,but unfortunately they never got back to us.“
The JSC has started a programme to decentralise courts in urban centres to residential areas.