THE Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) in Bulawayo continues to be bedevilled by fuel shortages, which has seen it failing to ferry prisoners on remand to the courts, thereby crippling the prosecution of quite a number of cases.
Yesterday, most of the prisoners who were supposed to appear were remanded in absentia, as the ZPCS could not bring them to court. A prosecutor at the Bulawayo regional court, Robin Mukura, told a magistrate that the State had been advised that ZPCS had fuel shortages and was unable to bring the suspects to court.
“I have been made to understand that prisons have no fuel to ferry prisoners on remand to the courts,” he said.
“So most of the cases involving the remand inmates will have to be further remanded,” he said.
As a result, most of the prisoners were remanded to next year for continuation of their cases. In court two, senior magistrate Sibongile Msipa apologised to relatives that most of the prisoners on remand could not appear in court, but would be further remanded in their absence due to transport problems affecting the prison services.
“Relatives of those who are from Grey and Khami prisons, we apologise that there is a transport problem and you should just listen to their next remand dates,” she said.
All the cases were remanded to January next year. Last month, ZPCS acting public relations officer Garainashe Moyo, who is also the prisons’ principal, told Southern Eye the fuel crisis they faced was “minor”, despite the inconveniences it caused to the courts.