Lawyer's ZINARA Challenge Set For Hearing

Hanzi petitioned the High Court on Thursday seeking an order to stop the police and the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA) from arresting motorists who haven’t renewed their vehicle licence discs, which expired at the end of May.

The human rights lawyer, who works for Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), took the matter to the High Court after police fined her $10 for allegedly failing to produce a valid vehicle licence disc.

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

ZINARA 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. The human rights lawyer 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.