MAGISTRATES and court interpreters have proposed salaries that are in line with their counterparts in the region, who in some countries earn 10 times more than what they are getting.
The court officials want a drastic increase, which if approved, would result in chief magistrates earning at least US$3 300, up from the current US$370.
Documents seen by the Independent this week revealed that local magistrates earn slightly above US$200 but in Namibia the entry salary of a magistrate is R23 000 ( US$3 150) and an ordinary magistrate in South Africa earns close to R40 000 (US$5 480).
Court interpreters, according to the document dated January 27, earn between US$147 and US$163 and when “contrasted with the (R7 800 or US$1068) salary for the South African junior court interpreter, all Zimbabwean court interpreters salaries are ten times less”.
The interpreters said this anomaly was disturbing and embarrassing.
A document dated January 21 signed by an HM Mwayara (acting chief magistrate) and sent to all senior regional magistrates and all provincial heads revealed that a comparative analysis of remuneration in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Namibia –– Zimbabweans earn far less. Reads the document: “In Namibia, the lowest paid magistrate (entry level) including car and housing allowance earns R23 000 as compared to Zimbabwe where a magistrate assistant earns US$205.”
“The lowest paid clerk of court in Namibia earns R4 500 (US$616) whilst in Zimbabwe the lowest paid clerk earns US$156”.
The document further stated that in South Africa an ordinary magistrate earned in the region of R40 000 with a regional magistrate being paid R73 000 (US$10 000) per month.
However, in Zimbabwe from a rank of an ordinary magistrate to provincial magistrate, the figures range between US$206 and US$236 per month and a regional magistrate earned a paltry US$300.
To stop court officials from leaving and seeking greener pastures outside the country, the position paper proposed that a chief magistrate should earn at least US$3 300 with their deputies getting paid US$3 000.
Senior regional magistrates want US$2 700, regional magistrates (US$2 500), senior provincial magistrates (US$2 000), provincial magistrates (US$1 700), senior magistrates (US$1 500) magistrates US$1 000 and a trainee magistrate should earn US$600.
On support staff at the head office at senior grade level, they are proposing a salary of between US$500 and US$600 and middle grade levels which consists of heads of provinces based in the provinces US$400 to US$500. –– Staff Writer.