Vox Pop: Taxi drivers cry foul over spot fines

HARARE - Masvingo High Court Judge, Justice Francis Bere opened a pandora’s box when he stated that spot fines and the impounding of vehicles were illegal. The police on the other hand say the statement was made out of court and does not in any way impact on their operations.

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa added his voice on the matter saying spot fines were put in place to ease pressure on the courts but police had eroded public confidence because of corruption on roadblocks.

The Daily News’ Community Affairs editor Margaret Chinowaita went onto the streets of Harare to seek the opinions of commuter omnibus and taxi drivers who are almost always on a collision course with traffic police.

Elias Katanganda, 32 of Damofalls, Ruwa

“I am a taxi driver and a client pays me when I reach his destination but the police demand a spot fine before I reach that destination. This becomes challenging. The police charge high fees as spot fines. I don’t know how they reach at certain figures. The spot fines seem like a constant $20 for every offence. We want to know what does the law say and we will follow that. As it is, I do not feel like I am protected by the law.”

Casper Sangatwa, 52, of Epworth, Harare

“Spot fines are too high and how they are administered leaves a lot to be desired. The police can just approach us at the taxi rank and they demand spot fines and if we don’t pay, our taxis are impounded. This does not make business sense. We are making a maximum of $20 a day minus $5 for fuel. I started driving taxis a long time ago but this is the most difficult time I have encountered in my trade, there is no business and the police are milking us dry.”

Fungai Genti, 40, of Msasa Park, Harare

“Spot fines are breeding corruption. I have never seen the list of spot fines, as a driver I need to see this list so that I will know that the police are acting above board. I usually end up paying spot fines because of intimidation. The police threaten that if I do not pay, they would impound my car. My car is my business and I cannot afford to lose it. I think these spot fines should be made illegal.”

Brian Kamauti, 42, of Glen View, Harare

“I heard that a judge said spot fines were illegal. The authorities look down upon us kombi drivers but we are also smart. We are being abused; there is no need for us to pay spot fines. Where is the money taken to? Spot fines are open to abuse by the police. They are making money for themselves.”

Edmore Kaima, 39, of Mabvuku, Harare

“Spot fines are an avenue for corruption. In most cases, one is not given a receipt. The fine is usually $20 and I don’t know how the police reach at that amount. If one tries to reason with the police, they intimidate you by threatening to impound your vehicle. Usually, one would be forced to pay, without any knowledge of whether it is a bribe or a real spot fine.” 


Comments (7)

When yuo drive be carel.don't drink alcoh

doreen methews - 18 February 2015

Police are a menace during the rush hour, that is between 0630 - 0900 hours. They are against the ZIMASSET because how can they delay people who are suppose to go and do production. Economy is driven by production. A huge QUEUE today was stretching up to Parktown Shops from the Mukuvisi bridge where the police were stopping vehicles. Surely how can police have a road block at a bridge. This is unseen

Chakatsika - 19 February 2015

@doreen methews, please dont type whilst under the influence of intoxicating substances.....

gurinhwa - 19 February 2015

Casper Sangatwa of Epworth, $5 for fuel gives you about 3 litres. I wonder which route you take your passengers that uses so little fuel for the whole day.

taps - 19 February 2015

Taxi drivers and others do buy $5 petrol and very small amounts of petrol. I have hired people to pick up items eg bags of cement to Mbare musika and indeed people do make small purchases for such errands and most times. I feel I may have been one of very few passengers even on expected busy days. $5 fuel purchases are very common. Handina kudhakwa by the way.

No brainer - 19 February 2015

$20.00 is too much for spot fine. make it $5

matiashe - 19 February 2015

Zvimwe zvinoitwa nemapurisa ma one maface angu. Chikonzero chacho chiri chekuti mapurisa vanhu vari pa fund raising mission yebato, ndosaka vachiita zvavari kuita ne protection dzaana Jona. Number 2 maface aye akangoita O level ndokuenda kunodzidziswa kumhanya. But when it comes to judges, A level plus 4 years at the university followed by years of practice. So the likes of Nyathi and them would be better off teaching people about running 10km marathon rather than the law.Spot fines are day light robbery and anyone can see that.

jore - 19 February 2015

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