Construction of a magistrate court that will deal specifically with traffic related offences only will become a reality very soon, after the completion of courtrooms in Windhoek and allocation of staff to the new judiciary branch.
The City of Windhoek has constructed two new courtrooms situated at the corner of Bismarck and Sam Nujoma Drive where the City Police offices were previously located.
Joshua Amukugo, spokesperson for the City, told New Era: “The building at the corner of Bismarck Street and Sam Nujoma Avenue still remains earmarked for a court as initially planned.”
“The City of Windhoek has already handed over the keys to the Ministry of Justice, where the next action is being awaited from. Meetings are ongoing between the two entities, but the final answers pertaining to when operations from that building shall commence, should rather be solicited from the ministry.”
Eva Maria Phillemon, personal assistant to the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Justice said: “The Ministry of Justice is grateful to the City of Windhoek for availing and constructing two courtrooms for the purpose of having it dedicated to traffic and municipal law related offences.”
“We confirm the City of Windhoek has informed the Ministry of Justice that the courts and the necessary offices are now ready for use and the City of Windhoek is prepared to hand over the facilities to the Ministry of Justice.”
She said the Ministry of Justice, specifically the Office of the Prosecutor-General, has availed four dedicated public prosecutors for this purpose, while the Office of the Judiciary has availed two magistrates, four clerks and other administrative officers for the new courts.
According to Phillemon, both the Ministry of Justice and the City of Windhoek are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) which spells out the terms and conditions under which the court facilities will be utilised. New Era understands the MoU is current with the Attorney-General for scrutiny and approval.
The court could become operational by beginning of August, officials said.
Deputy Chief Magistrate Harris Salionga told New Era that magistrates will be assigned to the traffic court permanently, but did not rule out rotation at the discretion of the control magistrate. The prosecutors will be delegated to the court by the Prosecutor-General.
Salionga said the facility would not be a municipal court, but a magistrate court dealing entirely with traffic offences and municipal offences brought by the City Police and the Namibian Police. The court would still function under the domain of the judiciary, he reiterated.
According to him, limited resources at the disposal of the judiciary and the volume of traffic tickets at the City Police prompted this cooperation.
All of the players in the legal arena that New Era spoke to welcomed the development as long overdue, saying it will go a long way in decongesting the current over-burdened court rolls at the magistrates courts.