20 February 2013

Namibia: Amnesty Expires for Traffic Offenders

THE City of Windhoek's traffic officers will today start arresting traffic offenders with outstanding warrants of arrest after the expiry of an amnesty period offered by the Ministry of Justice that ended on Friday.

The spokesperson of the City Police, Superintendent Helena Mootseng, told The Namibian yesterday that today's operation will mainly target arterial roads into town from the Katutura and Khomasdal residential areas.

The operation will then be expanded to roads leading from other residential areas, where random roadblocks will be set up.

Traffic officers will also visit companies whose drivers have outstanding warrants of arrest.

"We have already arrested some defaulters with outstanding warrants of arrests today [yesterday] and they are now in police custody," Mootseng said.

The City had a backlog of 50 000 traffic tickets and arrest warrants when the traffic department decided to embark on a concerted drive to reduce the number.

Mootseng said about 12 000 of these cases were cleared in the last two-and-a-half weeks.

She stressed that the City officials are not out to punish offenders and have been trying by all means to assist people to pay their fines.

"In some instances our officers had to take people to ATMs to withdraw money to be able to pay their outstanding fines and related penalties," Mootseng said.

At an average of N$300 per ticket, the overdue fines are estimated to amount to N$15 million.

Mootseng also stressed that it is not up to the City Police to offer people an amnesty, as they are simply the enforcers of the law that involves various other agencies such as the Justice Ministry and the national police.

Except for the outstanding traffic fines and warrants, the City Police also have to deal with new fines.

"Therefore we are very determined to bring the number of the outstanding tickets and warrants of arrest down to manageable levels," she said.

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