Police spot fines challenged in court

HARARE - A Harare motorist has filed a Constitutional Court application seeking to stop police from demanding spot fines.

In the application, filed yesterday by his lawyer Tonderai Bhatasara, Andrew Makunura cited Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi, commissioner-general of police Augustine Chihuri police constable Agrippa Chinyama and the attorney-general, as respondents.

Makunura argues that spot fines are unconstitutional.

“Any law, practice, custom or conduct by the 1st -3rd respondents (Mohadi, Chihuri and Chinyama) allowing the demand or payment of a fine on the spot is invalid to the extent of its inconsistency with the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20),” Makunura said.

He sought a court order compelling the police to forthwith stop demanding motorists to pay fines on the spot.

Makunura told the court that he was stopped at a roadblock in Harare’s Glen Norah suburb.

He was later asked to pay a $10 fine, because he did not have a radio listener’s licence.

He told the police officer that he did not have money on his person, leading to a protracted delay of more than one hour, as the police officer insisted that he should pay the fine on spot.

Makunura said he furnished the police officer with his residential and work addresses, before making an undertaking to pay the fine later.

The police officer later asked him to pay the fine before lunch-time on the day, while he kept his driver’s licence.

“I am advised that there is no law, regulation or rule that permits officers under the command and direction of 2nd respondent (Chihuri) to demand that I pay a fine on the spot.

“I am advised that the issue of a notice to pay a fine allows me the opportunity, in my own time, to consider and decide whether to admit and pay the fine or to challenge the notice in a court of law. This facility is an important part of protecting my constitutional rights to a fair hearing, which I can waive by admitting to the fine, but only on my free will, not by compulsion,” he said.

He further claimed that by confiscating his driver’s licence, Chinyama infringed on his right in section 71 of the Constitution.

“The demand of payment of a fine on the spot is legally not supportable and constitutionally impermissible. To compound it, the manner in which respondents go about administering the spot fines regime abrogates the right to a fair trial among others,” Makunura said.

Comments (15)

Zvachonyana, zvatosvorana gonzo nachin'ai! The applicant should also pray that the court outlaws or make a judgement on the holding of someone's licence to force them to pay fines, this is tantamount to extortion is it not? This will be an important ruling I am sure!

charles charingeno - 19 February 2015

This is not a police state. Spot fines and delays at roadblocks are inconveniencing development in Mutare. I witnessed a loaded haulage trunk being detained for more than 4 hours at Zimunya by Mutare Central Traffic Police on allegations of failing to display a radio licence. The Mutare Traffic Police division frustarates you and holds you to ransom just like Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram. Only that our police is state-sponsored.

Samanyika wekuMacgrecors - 19 February 2015

It is very difficult to have $10.00 in the pocket in an economy like ours. Only a police officer can manage that...

Emmanuel Chireru - 19 February 2015

mwana

kkkk lol - 19 February 2015

These police are a disgrace to our beautiful country. Also soil our party Zanu PF

MADUBE - 19 February 2015

thot radio license not traffic offense. might as well have zrp doing the rounds in houses demanding listener's licenses! oh, not forgetting the cellphones, they are also receivers of same signal, and all those officers at roadblocks are equally guilty!

mdlongwaj - 20 February 2015

muchitaura izvozvo, 30 of these evil guys have been deployed to Lesotho. Vachaona nhamo ikoko zvikomana zvekwedu zvave ku mounta ma road blocks

Jore - 20 February 2015

Police nowadays own the roads. You have to know a certain officer or you must be loaded to gain access. Every motorist must be aware of this. The police should conduct an awareness campaign and educate all motorist that police are to be paid at every roadblock either you are guilt of something or not. It is also advisable that they should also make it a point that tickets are no-longer necessary as we are already aware of it but only to the benefit of the few that are still in the dark

Dani - 21 February 2015

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