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HIGH COURT DISMISSES ZLHR’S ROAD TOLL FEE HIKE CHALLENGE SAYS MATTER OF NATIONAL IMPORTANCE PDF Print E-mail

14 July 2014

HIGH Court Judge Justice Joseph Mafusire on Monday 14 July 2014 dismissed an urgent chamber application filed last week by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights challenging the decision by the government to hike road toll fees by up to 100 percent.


In a judgment written by Justice Mafusire and handed down by Justice Francis Bere on Monday 14 July 2014, Justice Mafusire said there was nothing unprocedural in the way Transport, Communications and Infrastructural Development Minister Hon. Obert Mpofu had promulgated SI 106/2014 which had the effect of increasing road toll fees by up to 100 percent.

Justice Mafusire said it was within Hon. Mpofu power to craft the statutory instrument and it was an action within the exclusive domain of the executive to decide how road construction, rehabilitation and maintenance should be funded.

Such a decision, Justice Mafusire said, is manifestly policy-laden and polycentric. However, Justice Mafusire said the matter was of public importance.

ZLHR which was represented by Advocate Lewis Uriri, Joshua Shekede, Dzimbabwe Chimbga and Givemore Madzoka wanted the High Court to issue an order interdicting the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA), which was represented by Advocate Farai Mutamangira and which opposed the application from administering the new toll gate charges. The new toll gate fees came into effect on Friday 11 July 2014.

ZLHR wanted a public notice issued on Sunday 06 July 2014 by Transport, Communications and Infrastructural Development Minister Hon. Obert Mpofu advising the public that toll gate fees will be hiked to be suspended. The human rights organisation also wanted the toll gate fee hike to be declared null and void and to be set aside for want of compliance with the provisions of Section 68 of the Constitution as read together with Section 3 of the Administrative Justice Act.

The government, through Hon. Mpofu’s ministry recently increased road toll fees by up to 100 percent. Hon. Mpofu even proceeded to impose the hike in toll gate fees without bothering to respond to queries raised by ZLHR in a letter addressed to the Transport, Communications and Infrastructural Development Minister and dated 24 June 2014 over the utilisation and accountability of the money collected from designated tolling points around the country.

The human rights organisation argued that the government increased the toll gate fees without consulting it and the general motoring public.

ZLHR said the increase in the toll gate fees was done in contravention of the provisions of Section 68 of the Constitution in terms of which Zimbabwean citizens and every other persons have a right to administrative conduct that is lawful, prompt, efficient, reasonable, proportionate, and impartial, both substantively and procedurally.

The human rights organisation argued that the increase in the toll gate fees was also done in contravention of Section 3 of the Administrative Justice Act, (Chapter 10:28), in terms of which Hon. Mpofu was supposed to act lawfully, reasonably and in a fair manner.

 
 

HRDs Alert

30 June 2014

ZIM AUTHORITIES SET FREE BULAWAYO AGENDA OFFICIALS CHARGED OVER POSA

ZIMBABWEAN authorities on Monday 30 June 2014 set free four officials from Bulawayo Agenda arrested over the weekend for contravening some provisions of the country’s tough security laws after the intervention of human rights lawyers.

Four Bulawayo Agenda officials namely, Mmeli Dube, Butholezwe Kgosi Nyathi, Nthombiyezansi Mabunda Tozana and Thulani Moyo endured two nights in police custody in Victoria Falls, Matabeleland North province after they were arrested on Saturday 28 June 2014 and charged with contravening section 25 (1) (b) of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) for allegedly failing to notify the regulatory authority when they held a public meeting in the resort town.

But Dube, the Research, Information and Advocacy Officer, Nyathi, the Senior Programmes Officer, Tozana, the Community Organiser and Moyo were freed on Monday 30 June 2014 Victoria Falls by Magistrate Sheron Rosimani after their lawyer Thulani Nkala, a member of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights applied for their release on bail.

Dube, Nyathi and Tozana, who are all reside in Bulawayo were ordered to pay bail amounting to $100 while Moyo who is based in Victoria Falls paid $50. Magistrate Rosimani remanded the four Bulawayo Agenda officials to Thursday 31 July 2014. Prosecutor, Takunda Ndovori, of the National Prosecuting Authority represented the State.

ZLHR is concerned by the police’s obsession to continue curtailing citizens’ fundamental rights by abusing and using some provisions of POSA as the arrest of the Bulawayo Agenda officials contravenes Section 58 of the Constitution which guarantees freedom of assembly and association.

 
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