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ESWATINI TO NOW HAVE A COMMERCIAL COURT

By Sibusiso Dlamini | 2020-11-22

Good news for businesses and potential investors as Eswatini is now set to have a commercial court that deals with all aspects of business-related disputes.

The commercial court is set to deal with disputes around the fields of banking and finance, contracts and business documents, shipping, insurance and reinsurance, as well as commodities and management agreements.

This was disclosed by the Chief Justice (CJ) Bheki Maphalala during the ministry of justice’s tour of the Royal Science and Technology Park (RSTP) on Wednesday. The tour was graced by the CJ, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Pholile Shakantu as well as the newly appointed Ministry of Defence Principal Secretary (PS) Prince Sicalo.

Failure

The CJ said for the past few years, the country’s justice system has been under fire from international organisations such as the World Bank for its failure to have a commercial court and explained that having one would improve the country’s court’s rankings in the world.

“Our tour today started at Nokwane, which is where we were being shown facilities that we will look to use for a commercial court, and we are very  interested, because this is something that has given us a headache for so many years.

We couldn’t have a commercial court because the country is short of facilities, so this has really come at the perfect time for us.

Once construction is completed, we will identify two judges that will be placed to preside over cases, and we hope this will help move commercial cases faster so that they don’t have to face a backlog at the High Court.

Over the past few years, we have seen a number of high-profile cases, which needed the attention of a commercial court, for example the MTN and SPTC case was one, and recently, we had the Swazi Med and MedScheme case - those are cases which are supposed to move swiftly and that is where a commercial court comes in handy,” said the CJ.

Minister Pholile Shakantu also expressed her excitement about the creation of the commercial court, stating that the ministry was playing its role in terms of improving the ease of doing business in the country.

“I am really excited with what we have seen today in these facilities because one of the first things every investor asks about before committing their investment in a certain country is the strength of the justice system, hence having a commercial court is a step in the right direction.

Also, the establishment of an electronic case management system is an expensive project, which we previously couldn’t afford independently as the judiciary, but partnering with RSTP will mean we can now have a judiciary's system that allows case documents, such as pleadings, motions, and petitions, to be filed with the court online.

This therefore means we are also playing our role as the Justice Ministry in terms of improving the ease of doing business in the country,” she said.

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