Municipal court to start next year

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Roland Routh
Windhoek

The envisaged municipal court under the auspices of the judiciary is expected to come into operation in March next year, the judiciary said.

“His Lordship, Peter Shivute, Chief Justice of the Republic of Namibia, has expressed his hope that the envisaged traffic courts shall be fully-functional by the very latest March 2018,” the Office of the Judiciary informed New Era.

It said the March deadline would only be met if all stakeholders fully bring their side. The municipal court will exclusively deal with municipal misdemeanours, such as traffic fines and municipal by-law transgressions. It is a joint effort by the Office of the Judiciary, the Ministry of Justice and the City of Windhoek.

The Office of the Judiciary will provide magistrates and support personnel, the Ministry of Justice will supply prosecutors and the office equipment and supplies, while the City would avail the premises. These have already been identified and constructed by the municipality at the corner of Sam Nujoma Drive and Bismarck Street.

In a recent communiqué, the judiciary expressed the hope that the logistics team comprising staff members of the three entities involved will ensure the deadline is met, adding that in essence “teamwork will make the dream work”.

The establishment of the municipal court has been the idea of the City of Windhoek for many years as it has increasingly experienced a backlog of traffic cases due to the sheer volume of traffic offences, which are currently dealt with by only one court.

The deputy chief of the traffic management unit of the City Police, Adam Eiseb, during a previous interaction on the proposed court told New Era the proposition to create a municipal court has nothing to do with increasing revenue, in spite of murmurings that the idea was to increase Windhoek’s revenue stream.
He said he was not happy with the fact that traffic offences are viewed as less important in the magistrates’ courts compared to other offences.

However, a source at the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court informed New Era that this will not be the case as legislation only makes provision that the money paid for fines be allocated to state coffers.

Until the laws are amended to say that the municipalities and town councils should be the recipients of money generated through traffic fines, the state remains the only beneficiary of millions of dollars in fines paid for municipal transgressions.

•••• Pic: Municipal Court
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