Minister Defends Forced Spot Fine Payments

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By Anna Chibamu

HOME Affairs deputy minister Ruth Mavhungu-Maboyi says motorists who commit road traffic offences which call for fines should “just pay up” spot fines as most of them simply disappear for good once allowed to pay at a later date.

She was responding to MDC Alliance MP for Makoni Central, David Tekeshe who had asked the minister during Wednesday’s question and answer session in parliament if it was government policy for police to force motorists to pay spot fines.

The lawmaker told Speaker Jacob Mudenda that citizens were being forced to folk out some money to pay spot fines for road traffic offences against their rights.

“Even if you do not have any money, you are forced to pay because long ago, there was 625 where you would need to pay when you get the money,” said Tekeshe.

In her response, the deputy minister said it was indeed government policy for motorists to be compelled to pay spot fines.

She added, “That is why it is called a spot fine. It has to be paid at that particular place. You and the police officer are allowed to negotiate but if you fail to agree, you are then told to sit down and you are given time to think.

“You can borrow money from others to pay the fine because if we allow you to go without paying, everyone who commits a traffic offence will use that excuse that they do not have money.

“If you are allowed to go without paying the spot fine, where do you expect the police officer to make a follow up on the payment of the fine? How will he find you?”

Tekeshe however insisted that the minister clarifies if the policy was still enforceable arguing “it is a person’s right to pay when they are supposed to pay”.

He added, “…But for you to ask us where you are going to get the offender, that is not responsibility, so without money, I should be given a grace period in which to pay for my traffic offence.”

The deputy minister was adamant an offence committed should call for a fine paid on the spot.

“But you would have committed an offence. Without an offence, you are not required to pay but if you commit an offence, you have to pay.

“If you do not have money, you need to communicate with the police at the roadblock. You cannot run away with that money. We need that money,” she said.

Other MPs complained about police refusing mobile money methods of settling spot fines.

MDC Alliance Southerton MP Peter Moyo also reported that “police officers do not have swipe machines or EcoCash merchant as they insist of being handed cash”.

The deputy minister said in her response, “I understand the plight. We have little money but police officers do not have swipe machines. This is one thing that we are going to consider and they also do not have EcoCash because I think it will be so difficult for them. We understand there is no money but because people are committing crimes, we need to fine them.

“When we speak about the swipe machines, we will try to discuss as a ministry but there will be a lot of these machines because the country is so big.

“We are appealing to the public to drive and at the same time having cash so that they can pay spot fines if they commit offences.”