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Legislators call for resourcing of AoJ

15 Mar 2023

Mahalapye East Member of Parliament, Mr Yandani Boko says government should provide the Administration of Justice (AoJ) with the right infrastructure as a way to recognise the importance of the judiciary in society building.

Contributing to the debate on the AoJ’s budget estimates for the 2023/2024 financial year presented by Minister of Justice, Mr Machana Shamukuni recently, Mr Boko said it was important that the organisation was fully resourced to ensure that it executed its duties efficiently and according to the Constitution.

“With the core mandate of the ministry being to set and determine policy guidance and provision of access to justice and promotion of human rights, it is disappointing that the courts of laws are not fully resourced and that hampers the administration of justice,” Mr Boko said.

Okavango MP, Mr Kenny Kapinga said the AoJ had a huge responsibility that required the organisation to deliver a range of services and programmes and ensure that all Batswana had an open, accessible system of justice that treated everyone fairly.

Mr Kapinga said key to the achievement of effective access to timely justice, promotion as well as protection of human rights was a supporting legal framework and policy and an adequately resourced judicial system.

He was of the view that the P46 million requested for the organisation’s development budget was not enough to provide infrastructure to the many magistrates around the country still operating in temporary caravan structures.

He also suggested that the organisation engaged private security in place of police officers who he said were already thin on the ground.

“Deployment of police officers at the courts is straining the already stretched police workforce,” Mr Kapinga said.

For her part, specially elected MP, Dr Unity Dow challenged government through the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to refrain from filing cases before the courts before in-depth investigation.

“The rate at which government continues to lose cases before the courts could be damaging the state’s integrity and reputation and the lawsuits also drain government’s coffers,” said Dr Dow.

Ghanzi South legislator, Mr Motsamai Motsamai applauded the proposed Charleshill magistrate court saying it would bring judicial services closer to his constituents.

On the other hand, Mr Motsamai called for the use of mobile courts in rural areas with no permanent court infrastructure.

Responding to the MPs’ concerns and contributions, Minister Shamukuni emphasised government’s commitment to dispense justice hence the establishment of the AoJ as a stand-alone entity from Ministry of Defence and Security.

“The ministry is charged with ensuring compliance with respect for the rule of law and the ultimate objective is to ensure that Botswana is a just and law-abiding nation,” he said.He said the ministry had established as a core function of judicial and legal services which was dedicated to facilitating independent departments charged with delivery of justice.

“Through this function, the ministry provides resources, policy and strategic policy direction to independent departments and agencies,” said the minister.

Mr Shamukuni acknowledged that resourcing of the AoJ was of utmost significance, however highlighting lack of funds as hampering efforts.

The proposed development budget, he said would provide the resources that the AoJ required to fully execute its mandate.

Consequently, Parliament approved the proposed estimates of over P176 million and over P46.6 million for the AoJ’s recurrent and development budgets respectively for the 2023/2024 financial year. Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Thato Mosinyi

Location : GABORONE

Event : Parliament

Date : 15 Mar 2023