Source: The Herald – Breaking news.
The opening of the Epworth Magistrates Court has brought relief to residents of the small town who now have access to justice near their homes.
The development means more cases will now be reported and tried to their logical conclusion, unlike in the past when some cases went unreported at the realisation that even if the suspect was to be arrested, the complainant will not be able to raise bus fare to go and attend trial.
Others abandoned their cases midway as bus fares to continue pursuing the case would run out.
But now, the Epworth Magistrates Court is saving them transport costs and time, as cases are tried nearby, unlike having to travel to the Mbare Magistrates Court or Harare Magistrates Court.
The court was constructed by the Second Republic in its quest to take justice closer to the people.
It was commissioned by President Mnangagwa recently, and so far, it has dealt with over 460 cases.
Ms Fortunate Chamisa, who was witnessing an assault case involving her mother yesterday, said the opening of the court helped the community.
“The court is of great help as we used to board commuter omnibuses to court, but now it is a walkable distance and as you can see, I am already heading home so early,” she said.
Mr Norman Mhlanga, who was at the court yesterday, said the Epworth Magistrates Court helped them to arrive for trials on time.
In the past, he said, they missed their cases as they got stuck in traffic congestion.
“Even relatives, friends and the local community can come and witness the proceedings,” said Mr Mhlanga. “They can also learn a lot about court proceedings and the nature of offences, whether they are civil or criminal.”
Mrs Emmah Chari from the Chinamano area, Ward 4 in Epworth, said in the past, getting justice was a nightmare.
“I had to accompany my sister here, but we just walked, unlike in the past when we would have been thinking of transport fares,.
Mr Kupakwashe Chikwaka said the presence of a court in the community helped reduce crime in the area.
A gender-based violence (GBV) survivor, Ms Yeukai Chidhaka, got a peace order against her abusive husband at the courts.
Her husband was allegedly physically and verbally abusing her in front of their children, while also threatening to kill her.
Several other people from Epworth said the court had brought relief in resolving various disputes.
“We feel relieved that the court is now in our community; it is helping us as residents,” said Gogo Moko, a resident. “Since it opened its doors, we have seen a decrease in cases of murder and house breaking.
“So, we want to thank our Government for the development. Even the presence of police has since increased, and we want to thank President Emmerson Mnangagwa for the vision. If we didn’t have this court, it would have been another story.
Epworth town secretary, Dr Wilton Mhanda said: “As the Local Board, we are benefiting a lot in terms of policing because we used to have the community coming here for consultations. Also, the issue of disputes such as boundaries, land and houses, were so rife but the issues were not dealt with on time.”
The Government is constructing courts throughout the country as a way of bringing justice services closer to the people.