THE NGO NETWORK ALLIANCE PROJECT - an online community for Zimbabwean activists  
 View archive by sector


Back to Index

No end in sight for Zimbabwe judiciary strike
Associated Press
November 25, 2007

HARARE, Zimbabwe: The government said it was unable to raise salaries to end a strike of magistrates and state prosecutors that has crippled the Zimbabwe's court system, official media reported Sunday.

The Public Service Commission said magistrates were classed as civil servants whose salaries were only due to be reviewed early next year, the state Sunday Mail newspaper said.

Other civil service pay demands have been put off after the government said it had run out of money in the current budget to meet pay increases in the crumbling, hyperinflationary economy.

A magistrate earns about 20 million Zimbabwe dollars a month, or US$15 (€10) at the dominant black market exchange rate, a third less than the official poverty line.

Zimbabwe has the world's highest inflation of 15,000 percent though unofficial estimates put it closer to 40,000 percent.

Prices of individual items are not reflected in inflation calculations. A regular pack of six pork sausages was on sale at a Harare supermarket Sunday for 11 million Zimbabwe dollars (US$9, €6), more than half a magistrate's salary and a thirty fold price increase this month.

In July, the government ordered prices of all goods and services slashed by about half to combat inflation but the move left shelves bare of the corn staple, meat, bread, sugar and basic foods.

The government has allowed some prices to be raised to restore supplies but has not been able to enforce remaining price controls.

A magistrate's salary buys ten liters (two gallons) of scarce gasoline.

The Sunday Mail, a government mouthpiece, quoted one unidentified striking magistrate saying he was forced to hitch rides to the court before he stopped work.

"When I come to court, I usually catch a lift with the public, some of whom turn up in my court as an accused person. Because of low salaries, we remain exposed to corruption," he said.

Besides some 30 judges, hundreds of magistrates run provincial and district courts. The Sunday Mail said senior magistrates and police prosecutors were keeping some courts open to reschedule a growing backlog of cases.

Please credit if you make use of material from this website. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.