SW Radio Africa
10 July 2014
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) on Wednesday filed an urgent High Court application against government’s decision to increase toll gate fees. The case will be heard on Friday.
Kumbirai Mafunda, spokesman for the ZLHR, told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that the case will start at 9am at the High court. Joshua Shekede, a lawyer representing the group, filed the application with the court seeking to force government to reverse the 100 percent toll gate fee increase announced early this week.
The lawyers’ group is arguing that government is in breach of Section 68 of the Constitution, which demands that the state consults citizens on such issues. Transport Minister Obert Mpofu and the Zimbabwe National Road and Administration and the Attorney General are cited as respondents in the legal case.
The Transport Minister said the hike in toll gates was justified but motorists and transport operators have shot back and accused the government of trying to fund-raise for the treasury which is cash-strapped.
Motorists in the country will now pay US$2 up from US$1 at the toll gates on the motorways with haulage trucks paying $10 up from $5. Kombis will pay $3, up from $2, while buses will be required to pay $4, up from $3. The increase is the first since tollgates were introduced five years ago.
Social commentator Blessing Vava described the toll gate hikes as ‘highway robbery’ by the government. He said the increase itself is ‘irrational, unreasonable and cannot be justified’ considering that not much maintenance has been done on the country’s major roads.
‘Our roads are death traps and they continue to be death traps because of minimum road maintenance, despite the millions already being collected through tollgates,’ Vava said.