ZRP trembles and releases Zimrights vehicle impounded over registration number plates

ZIMBABWE Republic Police (ZRP) officers recently released a vehicle belonging to Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights), which it had impounded for allegedly failing to display permanent registration number plates.

Source: ZRP trembles and releases Zimrights vehicle impounded over registration number plates – The Zimbabwean

The ZimRights Toyota Hiace vehicle, was impounded on Tuesday 25
January 2022 at a checkpoint manned by ZRP officers at the Mabvuku
turn off road along the Harare-Mutare highway during an operation
commenced by ZRP officers in January 2022 targeting “plateless,
unregistered and unlicensed vehicles.”

At the Mabvuku checkpoint, ZimRights officials were told by a police
officer only identified as Maponga that they were under arrest for
travelling with a vehicle without permanent registration number
plates. The ZimRights officials explained to Maponga that they paid
for the number plates and had made all the necessary payments to
ensure issuance of the number plates but the Central Vehicle Registry
Department was advising them that there were no permanent registration
number plates. The ZimRights officials showed Maponga the requisite
proofs of payment and the Customs Clearance Certificates and were also
displaying their temporary registration number plates on their
vehicle.

They told him that in the past one week, they made numerous
attendances in a bid to collect their permanent registration number
plates but they were being advised that there are no number plates
contrary to the statements issued by the Minister of Transport and
Infrastructural Development in the media.

Maponga remained adamant and insisted that police officers were on an
operation targeting vehicles without permanent registration number
plates and proceeded to impound the ZimRights vehicle and lodged it at
Mabvuku Police Station.

However, the Officer in Charge at Mabvuku Police Station, released the
ZimRights vehicle on 25 January 2022 after the human rights
organisation’s lawyers Idirashe Chikomba and Tinashe Chinopfukutwa of
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights intervened and protested against the
impounding of the vehicle saying the law enforcement agents’ actions
were unlawful.

In a letter written to the Officer In Charge of Mabvuku Police
Station, Chikomba and Chinopfukutwa argued that according to Section 6
of the Vehicle Registration and Licensing Act, in terms of which ZRP
purported to be conducting the operation to impound vehicles, police
officers are not empowered to impound motorists’ vehicles hence they
cannot grant to themselves powers which they are not vested with at
law.

The human rights lawyers argued that in terms of Section 21 of the
Vehicle Registration and Licensing Act, a vehicle is deemed to have
been duly registered and licensed if a temporary identification card
is affixed on it on the prescribed position. They stated that
ZimRights and its employees are entitled to freedom of movement which
is provided in terms of section 66 of the Constitution.

Chikomba and Chinopfukutwa also told The Officer In Charge at Mabvuku
Police Station that it is grossly unreasonable for ZRP officers to
impound their client’s vehicle when ZimRights is failing to get the
permanent number plates through no fault of its own but through
inefficiencies at the Central Vehicle Registry.

The human rights lawyers demanded that ZRP should within 24 hours
direct the relevant police officers to release their client’s vehicle
without any storage charges and warned that should the law enforcement
agents fail to release their client’s vehicle they would immediately
approach the High Court seeking an order for the release of the
vehicle on an urgent basis. They also told the Officer In Charge at
Mabvuku Police Station that ZRP will bear the costs of the urgent
chamber application and will be sued together with the concerned
police officers for damages incurred by ZimRights in hiring another
vehicle for use while its vehicle remains impounded.

Besides writing to the Officer In Charge of Mabvuku Police Station,
Chikomba and Chinopfukutwa also wrote to Hon. Felix Mhona, the
Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development demanding that
he within 24 hours direct the relevant officers at Central Vehicle
Registry to issue ZimRights with the permanent registration number
plates for its vehicle failure of which they would proceed to approach
the High Court for an order compelling him to do so.

As a result, the Officer In Charge of Mabvuku Police Station
eventually released the impounded vehicle on 25 January 2022 while the
Central Vehicle Registry on 27 January 2022 gave ZimRights its
permanent registration number plates.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 0