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Police empowered to impound vehicles

by Staff reporter
26 Jul 2020 at 19:26hrs | Views
GOVERNMENT has gazetted a statutory instrument authorising law enforcement officers to impound vehicles being used to violate lockdown restrictions with owners or drivers of the vehicles liable to prosecution.

Last week, President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced new measures aimed at stopping the spread of covid-19.

A curfew and tightened other measures to tackle rising coronavirus infections were effected immediately.

The curfew, runs from 6pm to 6am daily.

Exempted businesses can now only operate from 8am to 3pm while deliberate or reckless transmission of Covid-19 was criminalized.

All travel by those who are in non-essential services, in or out of vehicles, is prohibited and they must stay at home.

In terms of lockdown regulations, Government now has the sole responsibility for inter-city travel for those that require to travel and Zupco buses the only public transport vehicles authorised to provide urban transportation.

According to Statutory Instrument 186 of 2020, police are empowered to seize any public transport vehicle or other vehicle which doesn't fall under the category of essential services, to carry passengers for commercial purposes. However, the statutory instrument does not state the period during which police can keep the impounded vehicle.

Part of the SI 186/20 which speaks about the seizure of the vehicles contravening lockdown restrictions reads: "Where any public transport vehicle or other vehicle used for the transport of passengers for gain, is used in connection with any offence under this Order (prohibiting the operation of such transport) an enforcement officer, if such vehicle is used again after the driver or owner thereof has been warned or charged for such offence, shall have the power to seize such vehicle as an exhibit in connection with the prosecution of such owner or driver for such offence in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act (Chapter 9:07)."

Government has completed working on guidelines for the transport sector and they are now being studied by Ministry of Health and Child Care to ensure that they are in line with protocols that curb the spread and transmission of Covid.

Government last week also said law enforcement officers were going to impound all vehicles moving without number plates to try and curb robbery cases in the country.

Police Commissioner-General Matanga warned errant kombi drivers against violating lockdown regulations, saying they will make sure that there is no non-essential human and vehicular traffic movement during the curfew hours.

Comm-Gen Matanga said no intercity public transport and rural areas movement will be allowed to proceed beyond checkpoints and roadblocks.

He also warned motorists who are in the habit of traveling at night to evade police, saying they risk being arrested and charged for violating Covid-19 regulations.

In Bulawayo, police last week impounded 90 vehicles for lockdown defiance.

Source - chronicle