HARARE – The chairperson of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) Justice Luke Malaba has warned newly-appointed magistrates to refrain from corrupt activities.
Sixty magistrates were recruited by the JSC recently to plug serious staff shortages that had hit the commission after government had imposed an employment freeze.
On Monday, Malaba — who is also the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, told the new recruits who commenced their induction training to think again if they thought they would be able to make a fortune out of the profession.
“If we detect the slightest inclination towards corruption, be assured that the gravest action will be taken against you,” Malaba said.
“You may all be aware that your recruitment comes at a time when the magistracy is severely understaffed. In an effort to mitigate the challenges the country is facing and turn around the economy, Treasury imposed a general freeze on recruitment of personnel by all public funded institutions and we are grateful that the government acceded to our request.”
The newly-appointed magistrates will undergo training to become full judicial officers before being sworn into office.
The training is aimed at imbuing the prospective officer with the ethos, values and traditions of judicial office.
This stems from the realisation that there is no law school which trains magistrates.
“The responsibility to train a typical judicial officer who exudes the proficiency, values, integrity and character required for the office lies with the commission,” said Malaba.
“A judicial officer cannot and must not run experiments with litigants. As already said, the gaps are clearly a result of the unstructured and uncoordinated internship regime and I have directed a standard training to be drawn up with a view to bridging the gaps.”
He urged magistrates to conduct their duties professionally and responsibly for justice to prevail.
Malaba said magistrates wield enormous power and mighty enough to take away the liberty and property of all manner of people and were required to exercise that power with a deep sense of restraint and responsibility.
“Judicial power comes with humility and it must be inherent in you. You must at this early point understand that you are in it not as an alternative but as a calling,” he said.