THE new punitive traffic fines of up to $100 announced by Government recently are yet to become effective, with traffic police still issuing tickets to offenders using the old schedule, Sunday News has gathered.
Minister of Finance and Economic Development Patrick Chinamasa, while presenting the 2016 National Budget in November last year, announced an upward review of traffic fines. The move, he said, was meant to reduce carnage on the roads.
Traffic police sources last week told Sunday News they were yet to receive a circular from Police General Head Quarters (PGHQ), directing them to effect the new fines. This comes at a time when there is uncertainty among motorists, amid reports that the new fines had come into effect, while legal experts last week argued that the fines remained illegal until they had been ratified by Parliament. Others contend that the fines became effective soon after being gazetted as statutory instrument.
Taken from Sunday News
National Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba on Friday could not give a clear position on the fines, saying she needed to check with the National Traffic Police boss, who she said was not reachable.
“I don’t have a position yet so I can’t really give you a response now. I’m waiting to hear from the person in charge of National Traffic Police then I can give you a clear position. Try me next week, I think by then I will be having a clear position,” she said.
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Permanent Secretary Mrs Virginia Mbiza was also unable give a clear position on the legality of the new fines.
“We are also debating the same issue. A statutory instrument is gazzetted for effectiveness, which means the fines became effective the moment they were gazetted.
“But now there is this argument that the new fines have to be ratified by Parliament. That is what we are debating to see which position we should convey to the public,” she said.
Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum NGO executive director Mr Lloyd Kuveya last week described the new fines as astronomical and an arbitrary and violation of fair trial rights and said his organisation was prepared to take up the issue to court. Mr Kuveya said the new fines were not commensurate with the offences, thereby violating the sentencing principle of proportionality.
He argued that the sentence to be imposed when an offence has been committed must be fair, reasonable and must meet with the notion of ensuring the accused gets his or her “just desserts” tenets.