Tuesday, 1 November 2016

SWIPE MACHINES AT ROADBLOCKS : CHOMBO

HOME Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo yesterday said plans to computerise the Zimbabwe Republic Police’s (ZRP) operations, including management of roadblocks, were at an advanced stage, with the government set to sign a multi-million-dollar public-private partnership (PPP) deal in the next two months.

Chombo disclosed the deal when he appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport to speak on automation of the ZRP, roadblocks and spot fines.

“ZRP has for the last four years been asking the government to computerise to help us reduce roadblocks, catch people driving without licences and to catch motorists abusing the system,” he said.
“In a month or two, we should be able to sign a PPP with partners such as the Ministry of Transport to computerise, control and manage all roadblocks so that, even if a motorist does not have money to pay a spot fine, they can swipe.

“The computerised system will enable ZRP headquarters in Harare to see from a satellite what is taking place at every roadblock in the country. It will take care of all complaints that people have been making to the effect that ZRP traffic officers have been taking bribes.”

Chombo told the committee that the computerised system would make it easier to tell who the owner of a vehicle is by just looking at the number plates or by punching the identity number of a driver, and getting their thumb prints.

Through the system, motorists who have not paid vehicle licence fees, or even dodged paying spot fines will be nabbed at roadblocks and tollgates.

He said, so far, 500 traffic police officers had been arrested for corrupt activities at roadblocks and fired.

Asked by Mbire MP Douglas Karoro (Zanu PF) to explain why roadblocks were mounted less than 10 kilometres apart, Chombo said the police would be looking for criminals or stolen vehicles.

“The public might see it as an inconvenience, but it is a service done to the public so that notorious road users are attended to. It may happen once or twice that there may be rogue elements that mount their own roadblocks, but those have always been nabbed and they are no longer members of the ZRP.”

Spiwe Muchenje (MDC-T Proportional Representation MP) then asked Chombo to explain why police were throwing spikes at moving commuter omnibuses and endangering the lives of passengers.
Chombo said the owner of the commuter omnibus and the driver would be held responsible for accidents, where police throw spikes at errant kombi drivers.

He defended spot fines saying they were lawful in terms of section 356 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, adding errant drivers often provide fake addresses to the police. Newsday

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