Courts removed from COVID-19 “essential service”

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Zimbabwean courts are handling emergency cases only during the Level 4 national lockdown
Zimbabwean courts are handling emergency cases only during the Level 4 national lockdown

Staff Writer

Government has removed court officials from the list of workers considered to be providing essential services and are allowed to travel for work during the current Level 4 lockdown.

According to Statutory Instrument 11 of 2021 published by the Minister of Health and Child Care, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga repealed a section of Statutory Instrument 10 of 2021 which defined courts as providing essential services.

The development also comes a day after Chief Justice Luke Malaba suspended all court processes for 30 days during the national lockdown.

“This order maybe cited as the Public Health (COVID-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (National Lockdown) (No.2) (Amendment) Order, 2021 (No. 10.

“The Public Health (COVID-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (National Lockdown) (No. 2) Order, 2020, published by Statutory Instrument 200 of 2020, is amended in Section 2 (“Interpretation”) in the definition “essential services” by the repeal of paragraph (m) and substitution of –

“(m)all criminal courts and, to the extent directed by the Chief Justice by a Practice Direction, other courts, together with their support staff (but not the Sheriff of the High Court or messenger of court, except to the extent permitted by the afore-said Practice Direction.”

CJ Malaba on Monday announced the suspension of court business until February 3 when the 30-day national lockdown ends.

He said the filing of new cases, process, documents, pleadings and papers shall be suspended will resume on February 3, 2021.

Zimbabwe has recorded 1 342 cases of the coronavirus and 19 deaths over the festive season, with the number of new infections and deaths nearly doubling over the last two months.

Zimbabwe has recorded more than 15 800 cases of the COVID-19 with 384 deaths.

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