A HUMAN rights lawyer and Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) have filed an urgent chamber application at Harare High Court seeking an order to stop government from implementing or enforcing new deposit fines which it recently purported to have authorised.
In an urgent chamber application filed by Tonderai Bhatasara of
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, human rights lawyer Sheila Jarvis
and ZimRights argued that government had erred by purporting to
approve increases in deposit fines which police officers manning check
points and roadblocks have already begun to implement.
Government gazetted Statutory Instrument (SI) 25/2021 in an
Extraordinary Gazette published on Monday 25 January 2021, which had
the effect of increasing all deposit fines.
Jarvis and ZimRights said the enforcement of SI 25/2021 is a legal
nullity and contravenes their right to equality and non-discrimination
enshrined in section 56 of the Constitution.
The human rights lawyer and the human rights organisation said given
the massive increases in the fines compared to the income levels of
the general population, there is reasonable apprehension of
irreparable harm that will be caused to many offenders who would fail
to pay the increased fines yet eventually SI 25/2021 would be set
Jarvis and ZimRights contended that the law requires the Minister of
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to get Parliament’s approval
before increasing deposit fines levels.
SI 25/2021, Jarvis and ZimRights argued, is invalid in that it was not
made in accordance with section 280(6) of the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform Act), which says “A statutory instrument may
not be made in terms of subsection (5) unless a draft has been laid
before and approved by resolution of Parliament.
The human rights lawyer and ZimRights stated that with no swipe
machines or ticket-books at roadblocks plus little cash available,
amid the obtaining economic challenges, there is a real risk of higher
fines causing real hardship and corruption.
Jarvis and ZimRights wants the respondents, who were listed as
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Hon. Ziyambi
Ziyambi, Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube, Home
Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Hon. Kazembe Kazembe and
Parliament, their subordinates and any other person acting under their
control or on their behalf to be interdicted from implementing or
enforcing the deposit fines purportedly authorised by SI 25 of 2021.
They also want SI 25/2021 to be set aside and be declared
unconstitutional as it contravenes section 134(f) of the Constitution
and section 280 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.