Mashudu Netsianda Bulawayo Bureau
CHIEF Justice Luke Malaba on Friday warned illegal forex dealers and other people involved in illegal activities around Tredgold Building, which houses the Bulawayo Magistrates Courts, saying there was an urgent need for them to be permanently flushed out of the area.
In 2018, while commissioning three additional courtrooms at the Bulawayo High Court, the country’s top judge condemned illegal foreign currency exchange activities around the environs of Tredgold Building, resulting in police clamping down on illegal forex dealers.
Police also sealed the parking area around the building. The operation was however short-lived and illegal forex dealers have since returned.
Chief Justice Malaba urged Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Minister Judith Ncube and the city council to find a permanent solution to the problem of the illegal foreign currency dealers.
He said illegal activities being carried out on the doorstep of Tredgold Building compromised the delivery of the country’s justice system.
“There can never be a marriage between illegality and justice so activities of an illegal nature must never be part and parcel of the justice system be it externally or internally,” said Chief Justice Malaba. “We hope that those activities in the environs or surroundings of Tredgold Building that are not wholesome must be stopped and I don’t think we should have a compromise on that issue.
“I, for one, want to see the Resident Minister and the powers-that-be of Bulawayo dealing with this illegality once and for all and ensure that this environment is healthy, respects and protects justice.”
Chief Justice Malaba said it was not a healthy situation to have illegal activities taking place on the doorstep of the courts.
“I find it difficult to understand that you can have people allowing illegal changing of money outside this building and sometimes inside the building and it’s seen as normal,” he said. “This is a fountain of justice; a temple of justice and we all know what Jesus said when he got to the temple and found activities that were not healthy. He put a bit of some switch and I won’t do that, but I think my tongue is enough.”
Chief Justice Malaba, who was on tour of Tredgold Building to assess progress on the ongoing refurbishment of courtrooms and magisterial offices, commended the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works for complementing their efforts.
“The refurbishment of Tredgold is a reflection of Government efforts and we are here to enforce Government policy. The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) is not an isolated organisation working on its own, it is an organisation that embraces all the policies of Government,” he said.
“Access to justice is a fundamental principle and we are saying the speedy delivery of justice, and at the same time in an ambient health environment must reflect the dignity of human beings and their aspirations. There has never been a society without courts in this world and even our own societies have always had courts and mechanisms of delivering justice.”
Chief Justice Malaba said the environment in which justice is delivered should be healthy and attractive to the public.
He said it was not JSC alone seeking to deliver justice to other people, everybody must be symbiotic in that relationship to ensure that the issue is understood and people are confident of the judicial system.
The refurbishments of the courts in the isolation of the whole building is helpless and futile because justice must be holistic.
Chief Justice Malaba said nobody could approach a building and expect it to be a temple of justice only to look for a particular office or court in a sea of chaos.