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AoJ to appoint temporary judges to reduce case backlog

14 Mar 2023

The Administration of Justice (AoJ) will in the next financial year appoint temporary judges to improve case disposal and reduce backlog in order to improve service delivery and enhance public confidence in the judiciary.

Presenting the Ministry of Justice’s 2023/2024 budget estimates on Monday, Minister Machana Shamukuni said the judiciary was in the process of introducing the e-filing system as another means of reducing the backlog and make justice accessible to all.

The e-filing, he said would decongest the courts and improve efficiency provided by the judiciary.

He said in January this year, 35 per cent of criminal cases at the high courts had been disposed and 39 per cent at the magistrates while for civil cases the rate was at 55 per cent at the high courts and 59 per cent at the magistrate courts.

“The judiciary continues to expand as evidenced by the establishment of new courts in places like Mogoditshane and Takatokwane and the expansion stretches the already limited resources which result in severe shortage of manpower,” the minister said.

He added that the newly established Takatokwane court had reduced the work load from the Molepolole courts and lessened the distance for litigants.

He further told Parliament that in order to ensure the delivery of the 2023/2024 budget, the AoJ was committed to implement its procurement plan which would ensure timely project delivery.

Additionally, he said capacitation of the procurement personnel was another area of high priority.

On the other hand, the minister indicated that special courts’ performance remained a concern, hence the AoJ would in the next financial year focus on establishing standards aimed at improving performance as well as turnaround time.

“The ministry is also considering the establishment of the commercial courts to further enhance the disposal of cases, particularly following the enactment of the new Public Procurement Act that will augment the easy of doing business in Botswana,” he said.

Further, he indicated that the process of enacting new legislations to govern the sheriff’s office and other oversight units had commenced.

The new legislation, he said, would address issues concerning the sheriff’s office, adding that a draft bill had been submitted for stakeholders’ consideration.

He indicated that the ministry had embarked on the digitalisation process, in line with the Reset Agenda to adopt new methods and accelerate service delivery and implementation of new systems.

The ministry, he said was also keen to harness technology by prioritising the refurbishment of the ICT infrastructure in all the high court divisions.

Mr Shamukuni therefore requested Parliament to approve over P401.1 million for the recurrent budget as well as over P35.5 million under the development budget for the 2023/2024 financial year.

He said the development budget would cover both the ongoing infrastructure and Internet connectivity projects. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Thato Mosinyi

Location : GABORONE

Event : Parliament

Date : 14 Mar 2023