BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
HOME Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe has said government is working on modalities to ensure that various methods of payment are used at police roadblocks to make it easy for payment of spot fines.
He made the remarks during the question-and-answer session in Parliament on Wednesday after being grilled by MPs over traffic police’s insistence on cash payments.
Kazembe said government was aware of the challenges motorists were encountering at roadblocks and was working hard to ensure that different modes of payment be applied. He admitted that it was impossible for people to travel carrying huge amounts of money required to pay the spot fines.
“We are seized with this issue and we are trying to find out how best our citizens can find it easy to pay” Kazembe said.
“We believe all the possible methods of payments should be made available at every point. By that I mean people should be able to swipe, (pay using) EcoCash or pay in cash.”
Asked why government was not adopting a system where motorists are given an opportunity to pay later, Kazembe said: “It is not something we have been thinking about at the moment, but it is a very valid proposal which we will discuss.”
Recently, lawyers challenged Statutory Instrument (SI) 25 of 2021 which approved increases in deposit fines which police officers at roadblocks have already begun to implement. SI 25 of 2021, gazetted on January 25, published the fine increases.
However, High Court judge Justice Webster Chinamhora dismissed the application, saying it was not urgent.
Harare North legislator Allan Markham (MDC Alliance) told Kazembe that motorists should be allowed to pay in whatever form, including United States dollars or electronically.
Kazembe said government was taking the direction of computerisation.
“It is premature for me to discuss it now, but I will probably just share some of the things because it has not gone through the processes,” Kazembe said.
“We are planning to eventually get rid of these challenges. We are planning to integrate all these systems by computerising them.
“This will assist in the event of someone being found guilty at the roadblock, because everything is integrated; all the information is available at the National Data Centre, which was commissioned Wednesday by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.”
MDC Alliance vice-president Tendai Biti said: “EcoCash has had serious restrictions since the reserve bank implemented the measures it took in July 2020.
“Therefore, as citizens, we are finding ourselves in an invidious position because we cannot pay. We do not have the cash, why not follow the law and allow the issuance of tickets so that we can pay after seven days or present ourselves to court?”
But Kazembe said: “We are going to look at the form which will enable people to pay later. We have not considered it at the moment, but I have admitted that it is a very good input which we will look at and see whether it is something that we can run with.”
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