Magistrate lashes out at police over roadblocks


A BULAWAYO magistrate has accused police officers of abusing motorists at roadblocks after they attempted to have former Lupane West MP Njabuliso Mguni prosecuted for a traffic offence soon after his High Court landmark victory over spot fines.


Mguni recently won a landmark case against the police after High Court judge Justice Andrew Mutema ordered the release of his car that was impounded by the police after he refused to pay a spot fine.

The former MP refused to pay the $50 fine after police failed to issue him with a ticket and instead wrote his alleged offence on a piece of paper.

After Mguni’s court victory, the police took him to the Magistrates Courts for driving a vehicle whose third number pad was not self-adhesive, had no rear number plate, light and front white reflectors.

However, magistrate Tinashe Tashaya on Wednesday cautioned the police saying they should abide by the law.

Mguni’s lawyer Lizwe Jamela of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights had submitted that the defects police cited had already been rectified.

Jamela asked the magistrate to caution and discharge Mguni since the charges had already been overtaken by events.

He said police should follow the law when mounting roadblocks and ensure they have enough stationery.

“This case is just a cover-up for their misconduct during duties otherwise the problems that the car had have since been resolved,” Jamela said.

Police had claimed that they did not issue Mguni with a ticket because they had no stationery.

However, Tashinga agreed with Jamela’s submissions before cautioning and discharging Mguni.

“Police should abide by laws,” he said. “They cannot violate people’s rights by saying they have no official papers at a roadblock.

“In the first place if you are unequipped why do you mount that roadblock, what will you be doing at a roadblock?”

Prosecutors had said Mguni on March 13, was driving a Toyota Corona along 4th Avenue Extension when he was stopped by police.

His car was inspected by a Constable Munorweyi who noted that the third number pad was not self-adhesive, the rear number plate light was not working and the front white reflectors were missing.

The police ordered Mguni to Drill Hall where his car was impounded. Police wrote on a piece of paper that Mguni should pay $50 for the cited defects on the vehicle.

Mguni successfully challenged police actions at the High Court.