Toll fees hike challenge thrown out

HARARE - High Court judge Joseph Mafusire has dismissed an application filed by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) seeking a reverse in highway toll fees hiked by up to 100 percent.

Joshua Shekede, the lawyer who appeared together with Lewis Uriri in chambers on behalf of ZLHR, confirmed to the Daily News that Mafusire had dismissed the application, on the basis that the hike was an executive decision.

Shekede said Mafusire made a finding that the matter was urgent and that ZLHR had a locus standi to institute the legal proceedings, but reaffirmed the principle of separation of powers between the judiciary and the executive.

“However, it (court) then made a finding that issues pertaining to increases in toll fees, whether they are reasonable, appropriate or fair, is a matter best suited for the executive,” Shekede said.

The new toll fees came into effect last Friday, despite the legal battle, in an application where the rights lawyers cited Obert Mpofu, the minister of Transport and Communication, and the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) as respondents.

Light motor vehicle toll fees went up by 100 percent to $2, while kombis and minibuses will fork out $3 up from $2.

Buses will now pay $4 in tollgate fees up from $3. Heavy vehicles toll fees went up from $4 to $5.

ZLHR claimed the hike was unconstitutional and unjustified, while the government says the increase is justified and the cash is needed for road maintenance. The rights lawyers argued that the increase in toll fees was in contravention of the provisions of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

“Zimbabwean citizens and every other persons have a right to administrative conduct that is lawful, prompt, efficient, reasonable, proportionate, and impartial, both substantively and procedurally,” reads part of the application.

However, Zinara lawyer Farai Mutamangira, opposed the application, which he said was filed out of time, considering that the decision to increase the toll fees had already been gazetted.

“When statutory delegated legislative powers are exercised by executive authorities, there are only exceptional circumstances which can be interfered with and this is not the case,” Mutamangira said.

 

Comments (3)

Word in the streets is that the gvt is too broke and wants to raise cash to pay Masoja. Since we are a docile people they will milk us kusvika tapepuka.

Gurazo - 15 July 2014

Thieves. That's what these goons are. Completely barren of ideas to turn around the economy but notorious at extortion. That's what you get if you have ex-terrorists in office. You don't bleed the poor to fund an economy. You attract investment and you manage it. If these guys did not have their heads so far up their a..., they would see that they are a failure!

Upenyu - 16 July 2014

This is clear cluelessness of gvt on how to turn around the fortunes of the country they themselves destroyed. Toll fees are now the source of civil servants's salaries;hence the 100% hike.What a big shame.

TANDAVARAI RUNYEMBA - 17 July 2014

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