WINDHOEK – The much-awaited municipal traffic court is set to become operational next month, which is expected to reduce the backlog of about 80,000 outstanding traffic warrants currently swamping the magisterial district of Windhoek.
The court is situated at the corner of Sam Nujoma Drive and Bismarck Street, and is expected to open its doors on July 2.
“It is our joint responsibility to bring justice to the people and to ensure that the delivery of justice is not delayed. This is how we as stakeholders in the criminal justice and local authority sector have proven that it is possible,” said Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Justice, Issaskar Ndjoze, during the signing of the memorandum of understanding between the City of Windhoek and the ministry on the traffic court.
The Windhoek traffic court will deal with traffic and municipal by-laws and be a first for the country.
Ndjoze said the City of Windhoek availed the premises free of charge for a minimum of 10 years in terms of the signed memorandum of understanding and also built two courtrooms for conducting hearings in traffic cases and cases involving transgressions of municipal by-laws. The justice ministry, at the request of the Office of the Judiciary, embarked upon the renovation project for the magistrate’s court. The upgraded premises are the result of a joint collaboration between the City of Windhoek, Ministry of Justice, the Office of the Judiciary, the Office of the Prosecutor General and the Ministry of Works and Transport.
“The public should note that the magistrate’s court situated at Lüderitz Street will no longer deal with traffic matters – all matters will be dealt with from a new location. It will be two dedicated magistrates’ courts with a full court team that will [deal with] all traffic matters,” said the Permanent Secretary, Office of the Judiciary, Rolanda van Wyk.
The premises further house a cash hall, administrative office block, offices for the prosecutors, legal aid counsel and magistrates.
City of Windhoek CEO Robert Kahimise said the council at its meeting held in September 2014 resolved to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Justice to ensure effective administrative of justice and law enforcement.
Council further resolved to avail the premises to be used as a special court for the adjudication of traffic and other by-law cases in order to address the current backlog of such cases at the magistrates’ courts.
“The parties engaged in negotiations on logistics and administrative procedures to be followed in order to establish such a court. Eventually the parties agreed at a stakeholders’ meeting held on May 9 on the terms and conditions for the operations and administration of the court. The premises were gazetted on April 30 as a magistrates’ court by the Ministry of Justice,” said Kahimise.
Furthermore, on the issue of the revenue of traffic fines, Kahimise said they have to agree on the modalities of how traffic fines relating to the municipality would be paid. He added that since all government money goes to Treasury the issue needs to be taken up and cleared with the finance ministry.