BY MOSES MATENGA
GOVERNMENT has said motorists must borrow from colleagues to pay for on-the-spot road traffic offenses if they do not have cash, and said it would not introduce alternative means of payment as it was in serious need of cash.
This came out after National Assembly members on Wednesday grilled deputy Home Affairs minister Ruth Mavhunga-Maboyi on why the police were insisting on cash payments for spot fines, a situation that they say has created a fertile ground for corruption.
Mavhunga-Maboyi, in response, said the police will not relent on the issue of spot fines despite complaints from the public.
The MPs said it was difficult to access cash in the country and therefore illogical for the police to demand payment of spot fines in cash even when the same government is compelling businesses to accept all available modes of transacting, including mobile money, swiping and electronic transfers.
Makoni Central MP David Tekeshe said it was a right for people to pay a fine after a grace period as demand for spot fine to a country with cash shortages was improbable.
“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,” Tekeshe said.
“So without money, I should be given a grace period in which to pay for my traffic offence.”
Southerton legislator Peter Moyo (MDC Alliance) weighed, in saying: “I will be having money in EcoCash or swipe, but police officers do not have swipe machines or EcoCash merchants, they want cash.
“Where do I get the cash because banks are not giving enough money so that I can move around with cash? Who amongst us here has cash in his or her pocket? Even here in town, when you say you want cash, where do you get it from? If you arrested me in the rural areas and you expect me to be having cash, where do you expect me to get that cash from? Should I stop going to the funerals because I will be told you are over-speeding? Is that good?”
Manicaland proportional representation MP Joyce Makonya said: “If you do not have a spot fine, you need to reason with the police. This will promote corruption because I can give the police officers $2 and they can let me loose.”
Mavhunga-Maboyi said spot fines were now a government policy.
“Yes, it is government policy. That is why it is called a spot fine. It has to be paid at that particular place,” she said.
“You and the police officer are allowed to talk, 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?”
“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. We are appealing to the public to drive and at the same time have cash so that they can pay spot fines if they commit offences.”