Zimbabwean courts shall become fully operational with effect from May 11, 2020, Chief Justice Luke Malaba has said.
These remarks by CJ Malaba follow an announcement made by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on May 1 that Zimbabwe will now be moving to level 2 of the national lockdown as the country continues to fight the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Level 2 of the lockdown, as stated by the President, will see businesses reopening albeit under strict conditions while citizens will be required to wear face masks outside of their homes.
In a statement, CJ Malaba said the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, High Court, Labour Court, Administrative Court, and Magistrates’ Courts in Zimbabwe shall execute their duties as per the guidelines of the Practice Direction provided.
“This practice direction is issued to replace the operational instructions announced in Practice Directions 1 and 2 of 2020 which are issued to guide court operations during the level 2 lockdown period,” he said.
CJ Malaba noted that Registries shall be open for litigants, legal practitioners and the public on week days, between 8 AM and 3 PM.
“Filing of court documents, including process and pleadings, shall proceed in terms of the applicable rules, legislation or Court order. Matters must be heard and determined expeditiously without delay to avoid unnecessary attendances by litigants at courts,” he said.
“The Sheriff shall serve all other process and orders, but shall not carry out evictions, executions or conduct sales in execution for the duration of the lockdown period.”
CJ Malaba reiterated that solemnisation of marriages shall remain suspended for the duration of the lockdown.
He added that all litigants and other court users shall at all times be subjected to temperature checks and sanitisation of hands at entrances, wear face masks, avoid person to person contact and maintain social distancing.
“Entry into court rooms shall be limited to the litigants and witnesses. Members of the public who have no business at court shall not be allowed to enter into courthouses.
“Litigants who are required to attend court in a Province or District other than where they are normally resident shall obtain the necessary letters of clearance at the nearest police station.”