Mixed reactions to new traffic fines

road blockNyemudzai Kakore and Rutendo Rori
Stakeholders in the transport sector yesterday said Parliament should have consulted players in the industry before approving of the new fines’ regime, saying the penalties were likely to promote corruption.

The hike in penalties come after Parliament recently approved an increase in fines for various traffic offences from between $5 and $20 up to a maximum of $100.

The new fines will become effective on Friday.

According to a Government Gazette published last week, the Legislature gave the nod to the passage of the 2016 National Budget which, among other interventions will see traffic fines being increased.

Munenzwa Bus Services owner Mr Regis Munenzwa said he was against the idea of handing over $100 fine directly to police officers since it led to “extreme” corruption.

“The best idea in promoting road safety and carnage is for Government to introduce a system where the approved fines are paid through courts to avoid a situation where a huge fine of $100 is paid from a conductor to a traffic police officer,” said Mr Munenzwa.

“We are not rejecting what the Government has approved, but an offender should be taken to court and pay a fine there in the eyes of witnesses.”

Transport expert and lecturer in the Transport Planning Department at the University of Zimbabwe, Mr Smart Dumba said the hike in traffic fines was a noble idea as it reduced the rate of traffic offences.

He, however, said there was need for the introduction of technology such as videos and cameras at roadblocks in dealing with corrupt activities.

“The amount of money to be paid is too high and it will lead to corruption in the sense that offenders will end up bribing police officers than paying the approved traffic fines. There is need for the introduction of gadgets such as videos at roadblocks before the fines are effective,” said Mr Dumba.

Bus operator, Mr Esau Mupfumi, welcomed the initiative but said transport operators should be given a timeframe in the payment of the fines rather than paying spot fines.

“The move is in the right direction as fines restrict motorists from committing such offences because if we compare with other countries such as South Africa, traffic fines are even higher than what Parliament has approved.

“What we need is a robust approach that satisfy both passengers and the public,” he said.

Greater Harare Association of Commuter Operators secretary, Mr Ngoni Katsvairo said there was need for Government to introduce stiffer penalties, which did not involve cash at all such as imprisonment to discourage motorists from breaking the law.

The new traffic fines stipulates that motorists who proceed against a red traffic light, overtake over a solid white line, drive without a license, or operate faulty vehicle without a foot brake, will be fined $100 for each of the offences up from the current $20.

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