In pursuit of its Constitutional mandate as provided for in Section 152 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the 22nd of September, 2016 at 11:00hrs met to consider Statutory Instruments gazetted during the month of August 2016 among them Statutory Instrument 86 of 2016 titled “Plumtree “By-laws”) After deliberations, it unanimously resolved that an adverse report be issued Town Council (Clamping and Tow-Away) By-laws” (hereinafter referred to as the in respect of the Statutory Instrument, due to the following considerations:
The provisions of sections 4, 5(b) contravenes 69 of the Constitution. Section 69 “Right to a fair hearing” is directly violated by section 4 of the By-laws which permits authorised officers to impound a vehicle where a person does not pay a fine on the spot, after the authorised officer has issued a traffic ticket. The provisions of the By-laws provide a platform for the prosecution of every offence which a person denies liability even where such offence does not constitute a criminal offence. The right to a fair hearing supports the rule of law, a rule that currently exists in our Constitution. It is one of our founding values. The right to a fair hearing was pronounced “the heart of the rule of law” in the Constitutional Court of South Africa during its consideration of the De Beer Case.
Clearly the decision of one individual working under the guise of “authorised person” being permitted to make a unilateral decision regarding the fate of an individual’s vehicle is inappropriate in the highest form. Not only will it create a conducive environment for corruption, it is the Committees view that if such provisions are to be implemented the courts would be flooded with frivolous cases. It is for this reason that the Committee strongly suggests that the By-laws be re-drafted so as to remove such prosecution and provide alternative measures preferably of a civil nature.
Hon. J. Samukange
PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE