Stone broke govt hikes road fines

HARARE - Long-suffering motorists should brace themselves for yet another steep hike in the cost of driving, with the country's broke government giving notice on Thursday that road traffic fines will rise significantly from early next year as desperate authorities look for revenue from all possible sources.

Presenting his 2017 national budget, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said the current standard fines, which were last reviewed in February 2009 when the country migrated to the use of multi currencies, would be increased by up to 100 percent with effect from January 1.

“It is, therefore, proposed to increase the standard scale of fines of level one to three, with effect from January 1 2017, as follows: Level One fines will go up to $10 from $5, Level Two offenses will attract a $15 fine from the current $10, while Level Three offenses will attract a $30 penalty, up from the current $20,” he said.

The lawyer-turned treasury chief said one of the motivations for the hike was that the present penalty structure had been found to be ineffective, given the rising road fatalities that are largely attributed to the failure by motorists to observe road rules.

“Whereas the fines are supposed to be a deterrent, this, however, is not being achieved due to the low level of some of the fines. Most of the carnage that is witnessed on the country’s roads are a result of human error arising from failure to observe road traffic regulations,” Chinamasa said.

However, motorists say police have turned the country’s roads into their "feeding troughs" as corruption among traffic cops has seemingly got worse with each passing year, and as the country's economic rot has worsened.

Level One offenses involve driving a vehicle without windscreen wipers or driving without either head or side lights. Cutting corners when turning right and failure to signal when slowing down, stopping or turning are classified as Level Two offenses.

Proceeding against a red traffic light (robot), overtaking over solid lines and a non-functional foot brakes are classified as Level Three offenses.

But as steep as the proposed 2017 traffic fines are, they come nowhere near what Chinamasa had initially proposed in his 2016 budget. Then, he was looking for an upward review of traffic fines for motorists who proceeded against red traffic lights, overtook over a solid white line, drove without a licence or operated faulty vehicles to be fined $100 for each such offence.

However, legal practitioners successfully argued that traffic cops had no right to fine motorists such heavy fines as these had not been gazetted.

Experts who spoke to the Daily News on Sunday yesterday said the new proposed fines would also have to be gazetted first, before they could come into force.

Last month, Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo, Commissioner General of Police Augustine Chihuri and Attorney-General Prince Machaya, also unanimously conceded that it was unconstitutional for traffic cops to detain and demand the payment of spot fines from motorists at roadblocks.

The trio made the concessions in response to a High Court application that had been filed by Harare motorist Andrew Makunura, who was last year allegedly ordered to pay a spot fine for not having a radio listener’s licence.

Comments (6)

All will go to the unpaid forces

Slim Cat - 11 December 2016

Tinemishonga yechibhoyi inobva kuMalawi isina maside effects inorapa zvirwere zvakasiyana siyana kusanganisira ma fibroids, asima, shuga, matambudziko ose angasangane nana baba pabonde, kuuchika, kuwedzera nguva pabonde(rounds) kukudza nhengo dzana baba mumazuva gumi varipasi pemakore 50, nezvimwe zvakawanda. fonai pa 0714066125. tinodhilivhara pachena muharare

Guramatunhu - 12 December 2016

zvichapera

zvichapera - 12 December 2016

id wish thoz cops had swipe machines n we jus swipoe the fines than let them pocket the money since they brag bwt knowing the law....i wash shocked ndamiswa pa road block ndiciudzwa kunzi private car inongobvumidzwa kutakura hama dzako nevashandi vako...ndikati handina company n if a carry u zvauri mupurisa imhosva here ....he was stuck...i think ma grade seven police officers ngaabviswe mu road

symboty - 12 December 2016

guys, is it true that the government is stone broke? how can a gvt got so broke when the ruling party which formed the government is hell rich to the extend of buying 200 vehicles for its campaigning come 2018. we are fooling ourselves and they pretty happy and comfortable with these sentiments that the gvt is broke. tiri kuvakwidza ndege, vanhu ava mari vanayo only they want to milk us until we drop dead. pliz lets stop assuming and portraying a wrong impression our gvt is rich, ask Kasukuwere, chinamasa and others

stop it - 12 December 2016

eish with ds cash crisis gvt want to increase sport fines ummm its not good at all. wen to big bull fight the grass will suffer

macheme special - 12 December 2016

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