The Minister of Works and Transport, John Mutorwa, tabled the motion in the National Assembly to minimise road damage and proposed that overloading offences be legalised as administrative ones.

The current legislative framework for road traffic and transport offences is the Road Traffic and Transport Act 1999 and the Criminal Procedure Act 1977, Act No. 51 of 1977.

Mutorwa raised his concerns, stating that the legislative regulatory framework for the Road Traffic and Transport Act is not fully complied with and acted in accordance with, making it inefficient.

"At present, the factual truth is only part of the transport logistics chain and is held accountable for overloading, a practice that renders the legislative regulatory framework and system practically ineffective. It is therefore proposed that through these vehicles, the whole transport logistics chain should be legally responsible for overload offences."

He said the calculation of overload fees and penalties should be based on the overloaded weight and the distance travelled with the overload.

Mutorwa proposed that fees and penalties should compensate for damages caused to the road pavement as a result of overloading.

"The success rate of the prosecution of road traffic offences, including overload offences, in the country's courts is very low. The expectation is that if the process could be removed from the court system and dealt with administratively, then the success rate would be dramatically increased."

He further stressed that role players who are essentially responsible for overloading motor vehicles are persons who provide goods, operators, and recipients of goods.

The minister highlighted that currently, only the driver is marked as the doer, taking criminal action.

Mutorwa said that the model for converting overload offences to administrative offences that has been developed is subject to strict prerequisites that will be met in order to prevent the Roads Authority and his Ministry from being implicated in litigation.

He said that requirements and prerequisites are meant to ensure that the system is fair, equitable, just, and transparent, as required by the constitution.

Mutorwa explained that those who will be issued fines will still have an opportunity to explain why they should not be held liable for the violation of an offence, and if successful, they are entitled to a refund.

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Joleni Shihapela