Judge reserves ruling on lawyers’ ZINARA challenge

HIGH Court Judge Justice Andrew Mutemaon Tuesday 12 June 2012 reserved ruling on an application hear a case in which a human rights lawyer wants to stop the police and the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA) from targeting motorists.

Roselyn Hanzi, a lawyer with Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), took the matter to the High Court after police fined her for allegedly failing to produce a “valid” licence disc.

This was after ZINARA unilaterally and without warning revoked the licensing extension it had granted to motorists.

ZINARA, which had extended the deadline to renew the licences to 30 June, startled motorists when it announced through the press that it had reversed the decision. The roads regulatory authority also instructed police to arrest motorists without “valid” licence discs.

Hanzi argues that police were not supposed to penalise her until the last day of this month. She argues that the decision to “unilaterally and without warning” revoke the deadline extension was “irrational”.

“In any event, the actions of the 1st Respondent (ZINARA) are afoul of the provisions of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the Administrative Justice Act, as well as the common law which requires administrative decisions to be reasonable,” reads part of Hanzi’s founding affidavit.

The human rights lawyer argues that the conduct and actions of ZINARA and Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri are against Section 3 of the Administrative Justice Act. The law provides, among other things, “that an administrative authority which has the responsibility or power to take any administrative action which may affect the rights, interests or legitimate expectations of any person shall act lawfully, reasonably and in a fair manner”.

Hanzi wants the High Court to stop the police from arresting and or fining any person whose vehicle licence expired on the 31 May. She also wants ZINARA and the police barred from impounding vehicles whose licences expired on the 31st of May. Hanzi also asked the court to force the two organisations to publicise the court order to members of the public, who of late have been living in fear of police roadblocks mounted on almost all roads.

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