Posted on

BIG SKY UPDATE: DEPOSIT FINES | PROCESSING ROADSIDE FINES

DEPOSIT FINES

Motorists will be alarmed at media reports of $700 deposit fines, from 1 January. Recent reports of ZRP insisting on payment of fines in US Dollars, haven’t helped stress levels. The following should clarify these issues for Big Sky customers …

DEPOSIT FINES

The short version:

  • The increased fines proposed by Minister Ncube are still going through legal process and are not in effect, yet.
  • The MAXIMUM fine that can be imposed at the roadside remains Level 3, currently set at $30.
  • A fine higher than Level 3 can only be imposed by a magistrate after a court appearance.
  • The deposit fines currently being imposed by ZRP for traffic offences are $10 for Level 1, $20 for Level 2, with Level 3 attracting a fine of $30.
  • Once the final Scale of Fines has been gazetted, Big Sky anticipates Levels 1 to 3 will double to $20, $30 and $60, respectively.

Motorists are reminded you have the right to refuse a roadside fine and appear in court if you prefer not to admit guilt. However, be aware the Harare Magistrate’s Court is dysfunctional and you can expect to be severely inconvenienced …

The long version:

In his 2019 Budget Speech on 22 November, 2018, Finance & Economic Minister Mthuli Ncube proposed a number of measures affecting motorists. Amongst others, the Minister proposed increasing the maximum traffic fine to $700. To implement this and other proposals, the Finance (No. 3) Bill, 2018, was gazetted on 14 December, 2018.

The Bill proposes a revised Standard Scale of Fines, which goes even further than $700, with Level 12 listed as $8,000. (As an example Level 12 applies to “reckless driving” in respect of commuter omnibus and heavy duty drivers). This represents a quadrupling of the Levels from 4 to 14, whereas Levels 1 to 3 are doubled, up to $60.

However, since the minister was questioned in parliament about the severity of these fine levels, we understand they are under review. Big Sky therefore expects fines on all levels will be doubled (not quadrupled), once the final version of the Bill passes through parliament.

In the meanwhile …

  • Motorists are reminded that the MAXIMUM fine that can be imposed at the roadside is Level 3, currently set at $30. A fine higher than Level 3 can only be imposed by a magistrate after a court appearance.
  • The fines currently being imposed by ZRP for traffic offences are $10 for Level 1, $20 for Level 2, with Level 3 attracting a fine of $30.
  • Therefore, do not accept a roadside fine higher than $30, and exercise your right to appear in court if you prefer not to admit guilt.

PROCESSING OF ROADSIDE FINES

Motorists will recall the electronic devices ZRP introduced in June, 2017, at the height of the roadblock-era. These are named the Traffic Enforcement Gadget (TEG) and have since evolved into an efficient means to process deposit fines and accept payment.

  • The Traffic Enforcement Gadget is loaded with traffic statutory information, and the relevant fines. 
  • When imposing a fine on a motorist, the ZRP member will enter the section of the Statutory Instrument or Act, and the relevant fine will appear on the screen, e.g. “C.s. 29 Fail to display current vehicle licence or temporary licence – $10”.
  • The motorist is given three options to pay at the roadside: cash, mobile payment (e.g. EcoCash) or swipe. 
  • When paying with EcoCash, the motorists cell number is inputted into the TEG, which then prints the fine with payment method details, which acts as a receipt. The motorist must receive an SMS notification to his/her cell phone, with ZRP clearly stated as the beneficiary.
  • The TEG has an inbuilt swipe facility and a fine/receipt is printed as above.
  • When paying in foreign currency such as Rands, or Pounds, the device will calculate the amount based on the exchange rate of the day. 
  • When paying by cash, USD and bonds are calculated at 1 to 1 and the motorist has the option to pay in either.

Big Sky acknowledges the contribution from the publishers of BIZ Bulletin, a useful guide to business-relevant legislation. Subscription enquiries to aquamor@mweb.co.zw 

We hope you will find this update useful.

Kind regards … Sean Quinlan

Managing Director

Big Sky Supplies – We prepare you for your journey

Posted on

FINANCE MINISTER PROPOSES $700 TRAFFIC FINES – BIG SKY’S VIEWS

FINANCE MINISTER PROPOSES $700 TRAFFIC

In his 2019 Budget Speech, Finance & Economic Minister Mthuli Ncube proposed a number of measures affecting motorists.

Amongst others, the minister proposed increasing the maximum traffic fine to $700 and imprisonment up to 12 months. (Readers should appreciate the budget is a list of proposals, which will have to be considered by parliament before becoming law).

We can be grateful that government has acknowledged the carnage and state of chaos on the countries roads, and that it cannot be allowed to continue. However, with memories of the trauma inflicted on motorists during the roadblock era still fresh in our minds, we will expect the current government to comply with the laws of the country before implementing any changes.

Paragraph 879 of the 2019 National Budget Statement: “In order to promote road safety culture by adhering to road traffic regulations, the Budget proposes that any person who commits such offenses be liable to fines of levels 8 to 10, which attract a maximum fine of US$700 and imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months.”

To legitimatise this measure, government has homework to do, including:

Amend the Road Traffic Act (RTA): Section 81(5) of the RTA says that the maximum fine that the regulations may provide for is level five. An amendment through an Act of Parliament is required, followed by an amendment to the relevant regulations, enacted by the Minister of Transport & Infrastructure.

Amend the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act (CP&EA): Sections 141 and 356 will require amendment to increase the deposit fine level above level three. (These provisions of the Act apply to any offences, not just traffic offences).

Revise the Schedule of Deposit Fines: The Schedule must list the various road traffic offences and the appropriate fines, clearly indicating which fines may be imposed by a member of ZRP versus by a magistrate following a court appearance. We trust the state will differentiate between life threatening offences and the trivial, and set the fines accordingly. To prevent roadside shenanigans, the Schedule must be readily identifiable (dated and on official stationery, etc.).

 The above will legitimise Minister Ncube’s proposals, however we will also request that the payment of fines be efficient and user friendly. For several months now, motorists have been greatly inconvenienced by the non-availability of receipt books and swipe facilities in police stations. These are only available in the least accessible and most inconvenient locations …

In conclusion, motorists should ignore recent misleading lists of fines appearing in the social media. Until government successfully makes the required amendments, the MAXIMUM fine that can be imposed without a court appearance, remains $30. (The current Schedule of Deposit Fines, effective August, 2017, can be downloaded from Facebook group Dear ZRP/Files).

With acknowledgement to the contributors whose advice I rely on, we hope your readers will find this clarification useful.

Kind regards … Sean

MD Big Sky

Pomona Shopping Centre

”WE PREPARE YOU FOR YOUR JOURNEY”