9 July 2012

Zimbabwe: Spot Fines to Stay

Spot fines for motorists will remain in force, as scrapping them will be costly, Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri has said.

He said spot fines for motorists who flout traffic rules would not be scrapped anytime soon despite complaints that they were being used to solicit for bribes by traffic police.

Comm Gen Chihuri last week said that scrapping the spot fines would be costly.

"There has been a lot of outcry from members of public about spot fines," he said.

"Spot fines are here to stay, otherwise without them the process of going to court for a US$10 spot fine will need more than US$500.

"Therefore, at the end of the day it would become counterproductive that you try to pursue US$10 using US$1 000 or more. Spot fines are there and will facilitate the process of ensuring that people comply with the law.

"I just wanted to make that known for the benefit of those who are used to complaining."

Comm Gen Chihuri was speaking during the unveiling of licensing enforcement equipment by the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration in Harare.

His remarks come after a public outcry, especially among commuter omnibus operators, that the police were demanding bribes at roadblocks.

Spot fines have been cited as a major contributor to corruption. The remarks are in contrast to Home Affairs co-Minister Kembo Mohadi who told Parliament recently that there were moves to scrap the spot fines.

He said the issue was discussed in Cabinet and Government was working on a new penalty system that will replace the spot fines.

Comm Gen Chihuri appealed to motorists to follow the law, instead of complaining.

"Those who comply with the law can never be arrested," he said.

"So, comply with the law and no one will touch you. If you don't comply, then you have no reason to complain.

"We only look for and separate those ones who break the law from law abiding citizens. That's our job.

"Like what the Bible says - the integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them. Don't cry if you are crooked."

Comm Gen Chihuri said the roads have become death traps and affected Zimbabwe's social life.

He called on traffic cops to fully enforce the law on the roads.

"I am aware that our roads were designed for vehicles which were far slower and vehicles which were of low speed," said Comm Gen Chihuri.

"Modern vehicles have more speed and the bulky goods are now being transported using road rather than the railways.

"So, it's a challenge to law enforcers, but with regard to this development, it will make our job easier."

Comm Gen Chihuri took a swipe at commuter omnibus drivers for disregarding traffic laws and warned them that they will be dealt with thoroughly.

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