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Rights lawyers confront Matanga over car plate blitz

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Zimstar News

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) have written to Police Commissioner General Godwin Matanga to register complaints over what the group feels is the unfair targeting of all motorists driving ‘plateless’ vehicles when the majority have genuine reasons why they do not display the plates.

Police recently launched the controversial operation while claiming a lot of robberies as well as hit and run accidents were by drivers who were not displaying permanent registration plates.

According to a police twit on Sunday 12 664 cumulative arrests against offending vehicle owners had been carried out throughout the country since the operation began.

However, ZLHR feels police were unnecessarily targeting everyone as a potential criminal.

HORIZONTAL

Harare lawyer Paidamoyo Saurombe, said ZLHR in a statement, “told Matanga that the Central Vehicle Registry (CVR) is failing to allocate number plates to motorists despite the claim by ZRP that there are sufficient stocks of vehicle number plates.”

Added ZLHR, “The human rights lawyer said it was grossly unreasonable for ZRP to curtail the movement of motorists who have paid for registration plates and were allocated temporary plates which they display together with insurance cover on their vehicles.

“Saurombe protested that there was needless harassment and inconveniences at numerous ZRP check points despite the fact that motorists had paid for number plates and the delay in issuance of such, is not within their control but falls squarely on CVR.”

Saurombe said if the restrictions on movement of motorists necessitated by the dereliction of duty by CVR’s failure to timeously issue out number plates continue, he will be left with no option but to approach the courts for recourse against ZRP and other relevant ministries to protect the rights of the public.

HORIZONTAL

READ FULL STATEMENT BELOW:

ZLHR PROTESTS AGAINST RESTRICTIONS ON MOVEMENT OVER DERELICTION OF DUTY BY CVR

ZIMBABWE Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) on Friday 21 January 2022 protested against restrictions imposed on some motorists by Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers.

In a letter written to ZRP Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga on Friday 21 January 2022, Paidamoyo Saurombe of ZLHR complained that law enforcement agents were unnecessarily curtailing the movement of motorists by targeting what they deemed “plateless, unregistered and unlicensed” vehicles.

In a statement issued on 15 January 2022 and 19 January 2022, ZRP stated that it had commenced an operation targeting some unregistered vehicles and vehicles not displaying permanent number plates, which it claimed were being used to commit robbery, murder, rape, kidnapping, unlawful entry as well as hit and run road traffic accidents and told motorists to park their vehicles until they obtain the necessary registration process.

Saurombe told Matanga that the Central Vehicle Registry (CVR) is failing to allocate number plates to motorists despite the claim by ZRP that there are sufficient stocks of vehicle number plates.

The human rights lawyer said it was grossly unreasonable for ZRP to curtail the movement of motorists who have paid for registration plates and were allocated temporary plates which they display together with insurance cover on their vehicles.

Saurombe protested that there was needless harassment and inconveniences at numerous ZRP check points despite the fact that motorists had paid for number plates and the delay in issuance of such, is not within their control but falls squarely on CVR.

He bemoaned that through its dragnet and arbitrary operation, ZRP is labelling everyone without number plates as being criminal elements committing gross acts such as armed robbery, kidnapping, unlawful entry as well as hit and run road traffic accidents.

The dragnet operation, Saurombe said, is unduly and unreasonably hindering the right to freedom of movement provided in Section 66 of the Constitution and the right to administrative conduct that is reasonable guaranteed in Section 68 of the Constitution and cannot be justified in a democratic society.   

The human rights lawyer asked ZRP to allow access to motorists who have paid and can show proof of payment and insurance as required by the law, their right to unhindered movement as CVR and the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development sorts out the challenges of issuing number plates to all those that have already paid for the service.

Saurombe said if the restrictions on movement of motorists necessitated by the dereliction of duty by CVR’s failure to timeously issue out number plates continue, he will be left with no option but to approach the courts for recourse against ZRP and other relevant ministries to protect the rights of the public.

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