Roadblocks fine collections alarming

HARARE - While parliamentarians have over the months raised the issue of Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) setting cash targets on roadblocks, officials from Home Affairs ministry have vehemently refuted this, saying the only targets are those of the number of vehicles they should inspect per day.

However, documents leaked this week clearly indicate the opposite as ZRP actually issue traffic officers and police stations throughout the country monetary targets.

The latest exposé shows that the ZRP is, instead of policing the roads, actually out there on a fund-raising exercise milking cash form motorists.

In a struggling economy like Zimbabwe’s, raising $14 million in just six months by issuing tickets to motorists is alarming.

And in the same period, the ZRP arrested over one million motorists, a record by all standards and in essence we are talking about the traffic police making over 5 000 arrests a day.

Interestingly, in the leaked documents, the police — mostly those in Harare — who failed to meet the targets have blamed the many roadblocks, which they say make it difficult for them to meet the target as too many officers are sharing arrests!

Apart from Harare having many roadblocks, others failing to meet the target have blamed “evading motorists” for the short falls. This means the police were actually targeting more than the one million arrests.

But what boggles the mind is how the ZRP calculates its targets. So from the reading of all this, the ZRP has to issue tickets everyday and vehicles like kombis may be issued with tickets everyday.

The several voices that have raised alarm at police, arguing they are implementing a government fund-raising project, seem to make sense. One wonders how such a staggering figure could be raised just from spot fines.

And suspicions become stronger, in the face of this exposé, that the exercise has made some officers in the traffic section rich from motorists’ bribes and kickbacks.

In recent months, there have been reports of police officers, some of them very senior, who have been dragged to court facing charges of receiving bribes from motorists.

While roadblocks are a part of ZRP’s policing duties, what is shocking and alarming is the setting of targets for them.

During the six-month period, traffic police also collected R11 717 900 which shows that apart from Zimbabwean motorists, those travelling to and from South Africa are also being affected.

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