Ban On Weddings Lifted: Chief Justice Malaba

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Harare-Solemnisation of marriages can now be conducted but in line with the lockdown regulations so as to lower the risk of spreading the prevailing coronavirus, Chief Justice Malaba has revealed.

On Friday, Justice Malaba said only the parties and their witnesses will be allowed to be part of the solemnisation of marriages at the Civil Courts, ZimbabweVoice reports.

“Practice Direction 3 of 2020 is amended in Paragraph 11 by the deletion of that paragraph and substitution with the following: 11 Solemnisation of marriages shall be conducted provided that, only the parties to the marriage and their witnesses shall be allowed to attend; and the conditions set out in paragraph 12 are fully complied with,” said Chief Justice Malaba.

In a bid to curb coronavirus, all people getting into the court will be expected to wear face masks and comply with all the lockdown restrictions.

Part of the Practice Direction reads:“Litigants and other court users shall at all times, be subjected to temperature checks and sanitisation of hands at entrances, wear face masks, avoid person to person contact and maintain social distancing of at least one metre apart.” 

Any person who refuses to comply with the rules in the Practice Directions shall not have access to the courtroom.

“Entry into court rooms shall be limited to litigants, their legal practitioners, witnesses and members of the Press.

“Entry into courthouses shall not be permitted for members of the public who have no business at court.”

The new amendment to Practice Direction 3 of 2020 is only applying to magistrate and judges only, Judicial Services Commission (JSC) acting secretary Mr Walter Chikwana said.

He said he was not aware of the position of religious ministers in solemnising marriages.

“This is a Practice Direction of JSC magistrates and judges alone. Those who fall under JSC. I don’t know about the man of cloth since they don’t fall under JSC,” said Mr Chikwana.

Chief Justice Luke Malaba also directed the country’s civil courts to cancel all pre-booked weddings.

Many couples were left lamenting their costs after the implementation of the lockdown regulations because many of them had already paid deposits in advance for wedding venues, wedding dresses, the cake, food, and car hire, among other costs.

Parties were directed to approach the courts for rebooking after two months, but there is a high possibility that solemnisation of  marriages will be conducted under the measures announced by the Chief Justice on Friday.

President Mnangagwa declared Covid-19 pandemic a national disaster on March 30, followed by the announcement of Level One of the national lockdown, all social gatherings were banned because of the highly contagious nature of Covid-19.

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