Malawi Road Traffic dept justifies new penalties, fees: MPs say 200% increase ‘illegal’

The Department of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS) has justified the 200 percent increase on prescribed offenses, penalties and miscellaneous fees as a way for motorists to comply with rules and regulations and that will go ahead to implement the new penalties despite parliament arguing the move is illegal.

Thyolera: They have overstepped their mandate

Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu and Solicitor General Janet Banda: Vetted the 200 percent increase of traffic penalties and fines

Acting Director for DRTSS, Fergus Gondwe told journalists on Wednesday that most accidents are caused by over speeding, drink and driving, reckless driving, careless overtaking, ignoring traffic signs, fatigue and overloading.

He said last year, 1,112 people were killed from 962 fatal accidents while from January to September 2017, and 1791 people have been killed in 694 fatal accidents.

Gondwe said road accidents costs the country an estimated 1 percent to 3 percent of the Gross Domestic Product.

“This is between $47.1 million and $193.5 million annually”.

The acting boss said these figures have been necessitated due to high costs of services and materials which are quoted in U.S dollars.

He highlighted for example that miscellaneous fees have increased due to costs like K40million on internet charges payable to Malawi Telecommunications Limited.

He added payment for system software licences.

“One blank PVC card which is used for printing drivers licenses and Traffic Register Cards cost not more than Mk5.000 each” said Gondwe.

The DRTSS boss said they have launched strategies to reduce corruption which include dissemination of anti-corruption policy and DRTS client service charter.

Gondwe pointed out they are sensitising officers on corruption prevention as well as engaging the public corruption.

The Road Traffic and Safety Service has further launched a toll free line number 4040 where corrupt practices can be reported.

Parliament said DRTSS has “overstepped its mandate” by rushing to announce the new fees and penalties, set to be effected Novemebr 13 2017, without the approval of the National Assembly.

According to Maxwell Thyolera, chairperson of Parliamentray committee of Legal Affairs, they have summoned DRTSS bosses to appear before it in Lilongwe next Monday.

He said the maximum offencees not specified in the Road Traffic Act is a fine of K20 000 and or imprisonment for two years.

Thyolera said Parliament will have to discuss the new penalties and fines backed by Section 58 (2).

But Gondwe said “The Minister has power to introduce fines and penalties”.

He added that the Ministry of Justice and  Constitutional Affairs  vetted the changes as well as the fact that they have been gazzetted as per provision of Road Traffic Act.

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jonson
Guest
To begin with, the new fines are unjustifiable. I do not know if thorough consultation was done before reaching such baseless and unrealistic fines. I strongly feel that these people would have first considered the buying power of most Malawians, which we all know is pathetic and this is largely because our salaries in general are very very poor, and on the other hand is the economy which is upside down. And from that view point,how would you expect people to meet these fines in an event that they are in conflict with traffic laws? Frankly speaking things are not… Read more »
Noxy
Guest

And how can forgetting of licence at home cause an accident?

Concerned Citizen
Guest

How do the maximum fines compare to the salary of a mini bus driver and the average traffic officer?

Mind you one is a spot fine and the other is a monthly salary.

Pension Nenereko
Guest

So Tembenu vetted perhaps he no longer lives in Malawi to see the poverty! The problem is corruption, nepotism in recruitment (employing friends, daughters and sons who have no interest in the job of enforcing traffic laws) etc – therefore laws are not enforced.

patrick
Guest

Boma can you first increase our salaries by 1100percent, then impose these fines. the minister does he realise that Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world, these fines are only affordable to people leaving in the west. DPP you have lost my vote

Central
Guest

Limenelo nde boma la DPP!! To them they can do anything and everything on their own angakhale zitakhala kuti ena akuwathandiza maganizo kuti its unprocedural, kwa iwo ndi zankutu zimenezo!!

Nganya
Guest

This kind of increment is unrealistic because people will not manage to pay this. In the end they will resort to a figure that will be very small compared to the charge but big to the men on the road. It will only fuel corruption and loss of revenue. Look at the economy of Malawi and see if a common man will manage this.
Some of these offenses come because of poverty and it is expected that the same poor man will pay those fines.

Angel of Doom
Guest
Malawians are very sad people. The fines are not the norm. A car should have good tyres, Insurance, COF, etc otherwise it has no business being on the road. Most accidents blamed on speeding always say a tyre bust, meaning the tyre was worn out, if brakes fail the car had no COF. If your vehicle is well maintained, and you have a valid license, what is the problem? You are happy that drivers without any knowledge of traffic rules, kill people on pedestrian crossings? Wait until one of your family gets killed by a car with no insurance, no… Read more »
Kwendakwina
Guest

First clean up your own house as it is your own corruption which is the cause of accidents. Even if we all have driving licences and all our cars have COF, I guarantee accidents will still be on the rise as most of these documents are issued fraudulently by your own office. Cars get COF without bring examined and people are getting driving licences even before they have known how to drive a car. Shame on us Malawians!

Joe
Guest
Whilst I side with the opposition MCP on most social ills currently buffeting nyasaland, I differ with them on this one. This is distasteful opportunism on their part. There is too much reckless driving on Malawi roads these days. Each and every day, you always see outrageous conduct on our roads. It’s sad that as a nation, we seem to have embraced disregard of laws/regulations on many development frontiers. For instance in this case, we seem to be accepting “it’s okay to down a bottle of Jameson and cruise home”. Behind this warped thinking underlies a mentality that leads us… Read more »
kanchenga
Guest
Mr Thyolera is right. The sad story you have narrated stems from the fact that we take too many short cuts and end up messing things. These people are aware of the produres but wanted to take advantage of the emotional situation on the ground to force Malawians pay the traffic policeman on the road more money for Xmas. I am sorry if your relation is one of the hospitalised people. This is how all the victims of a failed nation feel. The Njaunju family. The Chasowa family and everybody else including the people you have described in ward 3a.… Read more »
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