Police impounding vehicles illegally: Lawyers

It is illegal for police officers to impound cars on Zimbabwean roads except when there are special circumstances where the driver of the vehicle is asked to produce their driver’s licence, human rights lawyer Kennedy Masiye has said.

BY SILENCE CHARUMBIRA

Masiye was speaking to NewsDay yesterday after police said they had impounded 298 vehicles for various offences committed during the just-ended Easter holiday.

“The law does not give the police power to impound vehicles. The only time they can impound a vehicle is, as empowered by Section 74 of the Road Traffic Act, where an officer demands a driver’s licence and they can detain the car for a maximum of 24 hours,” Masiye said.

“After 24 hours, the driver can still collect their vehicle before producing a driver’s licence and they are given at least seven days to produce the licence.”

Masiye said besides that, there was no provision for police officers to impound vehicles as there were fines that go with various offences including defective vehicles.

He said it was also illegal for officers to force motorists to pay spot fines as there was no legal provision for the practice.

“If your vehicle is taken away, your property rights are being violated because the vehicle cannot be taken away without justifiable reasons. One can seek recourse through acquiring a spoliation order on urgent basis at the courts so that they can repossess their car. They can go further to sue the police because their right to property would have been violated,” Masiye said.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said in order for the traffic fines to be implemented fairly and in good faith, the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development and other relevant authorities should embark on a nationwide awareness campaign regarding the requirements of the 2015 regulations and other legislation relating to traffic offences, such as the Road Traffic Act and the Road Traffic (Safety-belt) Regulations, 1987.

“Most importantly, in imposing traffic fines, Zimbabwe Republic Police officers must exercise their duties in the interests of public safety and administrative justice, refraining from imposing unlawful spot fines and rejecting all forms of bribery and corruption,” the lawyers said.

National police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said the lawyers were entitled to their own opinions.

“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. There is freedom of speech in this country and that is what they are exercising,” she said

26 Responses to Police impounding vehicles illegally: Lawyers

  1. Ndini ndadaro March 30, 2016 at 8:15 am #

    What is the problem with our police??? I think the Public Service Commission mus reconsider the entry requirements of the police we need people who can inter-prate the law well and protect it, you cant have a police officer who arrest you for having a spare wheel which has a puncture whilst you are not nearer to a service station nxa this is pathetic and u then see munhu mkuru anenge amai charamba vachiita fanika havana kudzidzawo shame to our porisi

  2. ndimaz March 30, 2016 at 8:54 am #

    Ndimaz

    Surely the police cannot just say lawyers were entitled to there own opinion period, what is their position regarding that issue so that the ordinary motorist knows

    • Mbavha Dzemutemo March 30, 2016 at 9:21 am #

      Chibanzi ndochirikudiwa ne mapurisa chete. Havana
      basa nemutemo.

  3. Nyasha March 30, 2016 at 9:16 am #

    Ndio saka tichiti there is no rule of law in this forsaken country

  4. Koporo March 30, 2016 at 9:32 am #

    Hakuna Zimbabwe yakapfava kudaro, toti une mhosva, toti futi hauna Mari then wongo enda hako… It’s either u pay the said spot fine, go ku court kana kuti manighbourhood anongo impounder garis..in one way or the other uchazongobhadhara chete.. Let’s adhere to our local traffic laws period

    • maita March 30, 2016 at 10:00 am #

      sanity check zero!

    • Anti-Koporo March 30, 2016 at 11:05 am #

      Ehezve ndongobhadhara asi pane time frame-zve Koporo. Imi moda kuti ipapo ipapo as if hapana provision yekutsvaka mari yacho. Inga the law allows that. You just interpret panozadzisa zvamunoda imimi. Kangering, your levels!!

    • Dcg March 30, 2016 at 11:18 am #

      Uchafa Benjamin

  5. K.o.t March 30, 2016 at 9:55 am #

    who is there to police the police, remember they are only law enforcers and they also are not above the law.

  6. maita March 30, 2016 at 9:58 am #

    Which countries do these lawyers come from? In Zimbabwe ZRP operates above every law.It appears they are changed to animals whenever they put that uniform on.

  7. Observer March 30, 2016 at 10:51 am #

    Charamba please face the facts and don’t be so lame, it’s not about opinions and freedom of speech, it’s about the proper interpretation of the law! You think we don’t see the illegal police operations where you are fleecing motorists on the roads

  8. Tsunami March 30, 2016 at 10:58 am #

    There are three things in Zimbabwe which are above the law 1 the president 2 the police and Zanu pf,Zivai izvozvo

  9. zai March 30, 2016 at 11:16 am #

    Sis Charamba, u shldnt hv demonstrated yo stupidity tht way. Simply asking the reporter to check with u later after verifying facts wld hv bn more sensible than yo hare-brained answer

  10. hukurefu March 30, 2016 at 11:17 am #

    mapurisa ari pamusoro pomutemo. Go paHarare Central Police station and see mota dzamapurisa parked there dzisina kana mutero. Muroad mapurisa ndiwo ane mishikashika

  11. Sajeni March 30, 2016 at 12:16 pm #

    Pindawao mukugamaLacto. Itawao mupurisa kana zvakusvota. Pamberi nekutonga vanotongwa.

  12. sharp March 30, 2016 at 1:39 pm #

    A country run by opinions not law? The police’s opinion is that they should charge you fake spot fines and enjoy beers after or impound your vehicle to force you pay a bribe.

  13. real zimba March 30, 2016 at 3:05 pm #

    ndakakuudzai, ZRP is worse off than the colonial BSAP

  14. real zimba March 30, 2016 at 3:09 pm #

    Charamba and your Zimbabwe Roadblock Police (ZRP) dont just tell us the number of vehicles that you have impounded over the holiday, tell us how much money you have collected from motorists over the holiday and kut iripi mari iyoyo

  15. nasa March 30, 2016 at 4:12 pm #

    charamba might be wrong that someone who studied the law has opinions about the law, but then, the police do not interpret the law. the parliaments makes the law, the judiciary interprets and the police enforce. if you decide to take a case to court, to lawyer now judge, you’l see the diference between a cop and a magistrate.

  16. reason March 30, 2016 at 4:56 pm #

    There is a very broad road at ZBC robbots and those robots are nw used as cash cow by Mbare traffic police.turning left from mbare to Lobels is now tricky,u risk being charged for turning thru red robbot even if the robbot changes amber wilst are already in the middle of the intersection.i am todays victim and i vehemently denied bt they procceded to impound my vehicle.seeing i wz getting impatient i fell to their demand of $10 bribery ,up to nw i am fuming

  17. Gava March 30, 2016 at 6:43 pm #

    What the lawyer dd nt say is what to do after winning a case against police and they hold on to your…

  18. Advocate March 30, 2016 at 7:59 pm #

    Even when “PRODUCING” a driver’s license, the law Section 74: subsection 3 of the Traffic Act is very clear!!! It doesn’t compel the driver to “GIVE” the police or authorized Inspecting officer the license – but to produce!!! One can produce the license but cannot give it to a police or inspecting officer!! To produce is not to give. Hope some overzealous cops can read and understand the Traffic Act.

  19. s shumba March 30, 2016 at 10:28 pm #

    Typical ZRP “untouchable” behaviour – “….entitled to own opinion .. .. freedom of speech….” -my-foot

  20. Ba b March 31, 2016 at 5:29 am #

    ini I now drive on weekends doing malocal rounds mid week ndokwirawo dzevamwe coz ndakawona kuti nri kutotengera matraffic cops mastands when things are so bad. ahhh charamba uri chupeti yemunhu oh bytheway its an occupational hazard.

  21. Pastor Farie March 31, 2016 at 9:14 am #

    Are you still complaining about the police. Please learn to accept the status quo. Hapana zvamunowaita. They are above the LAW.

  22. Tendai Chaminuka March 31, 2016 at 11:00 am #

    Our lawyers are good arm chair critics.Why not challenge the law to the highest court.And with the high legal costs justice is for the elite.Saka dzimwe nguvu kunyarara kwakanaka.

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