FRANCISTOWN: The Chief Justice (CJ), Maruping Dibotelo whose tenure as the country’s top judge is coming to a close at the end of April, bade farewell to his dissatisfied staff here this week.
Sources at the Administration of Justice (AoJ) at the High Court here told this reporter that although employees of the AoJ expressed no hard feelings about the outgoing CJ, they expressed unhappiness about their conditions of work.
The sources told Mmegi that chief amongst the issues that the AoJ workers wanted the CJ to have solved before the expiry of his term was the shortage of interpreters, court reporters and the issue of employees who stayed in one position for a long time without any progression.
The issue of shortage of interpreters and court reporters is a well-known matter and it has for a long time crippled the efficient functioning of the courts across the country.
The insuperable issues have not only affected the AoJ staff, but have also beset lawyers and litigants who appear both at the magistrates’ and High Court.
The two issues sometimes lead to the unnecessary postponement of cases and to cases that need to be transcribed to take longer periods to be completed, especially when some litigants appeal their cases.
According to the sources, the staff told the CJ that the shortage of interpreters is forcing some interpreters to work overtime, which process made them to feel exhausted and not to perform their duties optimally.
Dibotelo, whose term as the CJ was mired by controversies, is said to have
“Dibotelo acknowledged that our problems were genuine and were not borne out of any malice but from our desire to serve the public effectively. He said that unfortunately the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM), which provides government with human resources services, has not availed the AoJ with new positions for interpreters and other critical staff during this financial year even though his wish was for the shortage of staff to be solved,” another source said.
Dibotelo told us not to despair, the sources noted, but to keep on hoping for the situation to turn for the better in future once funds become available.
On the issue of progression, the source added that Dibotelo told them it would also be solved in future once funds are available.
“The CJ encouraged us to work at optimal levels notwithstanding the issues we raised. From my observation, the employees understood the CJ because we know for a fact that the AoJ like many government departments was not given what it wanted during the budget speech for it to effectively carry out its mandate,” said the source.
At the time of going to press, the AoJ public relations had not answered a questionnaire it requested.