Community courts are finding it hard to carry out their day-to-day duties due to the lack of funds and are left to oversee piling cases that require funding. The courts are presided over by traditional leaders.
This was revealed yesterday by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs currently conducting oversight visits to the Zambezi Region.
The courts also experience difficulty in paying proper allowances and salaries to its clerks, justices, messengers of courts and assessors, including lack of transport which makes it difficult for messengers to deliver summons on time, as well as the lack of court space and furniture.
Despite these difficulties, the Mayeye Community Court has performed remarkably demonstrating efficiency in the finalisation of cases since the implementations of Community Courts. According to court reports, it is currently dealing with sixteen cases. And despite being paid low allowances, the court says it is pleased that allowances are paid on time. In addition, the Committee held a consultative meeting with the Katima Mulilo Magistrate Court, to assess the coordination of the mainstream administration of justice with Community Courts in the region, as well as the Masubia and Mafwe Traditional Authorities in Bukalo and Chinchimane respectively.
Both courts (Masubia and Mafwe Traditional Authorities) shared similar sentiments on inadequate allowances being a contributing factor and a challenge in the smooth running of some activities at the courts.
The purpose of the Community Courts Act is to bring the courts presided over by traditional leaders into the mainstream of the administration of justice in Namibia. The Act aims to address the problem of enforcement of decisions that exists in the current traditional courts.