It has emerged that only the courts can fine motorists and pedestrians $200 for picking up passengers or boarding vehicles at undesignated points as the police cannot collect fines above $20.
The clarification was made yesterday as the public was warned against being duped by corrupt police officers.
The penalties are under Statutory Instrument 41 of 2016 of the Road Traffic (Traffic Signs and Signals) Regulations gazetted in April.
Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe spokesperson Mr Ernest Muchena recently said: “The fines are up to Level 5 which gives room to the police to charge where one can pay admission of guilt fine which is $20.
“If one decides not to pay admission of guilt and contests the charge, they then go to court. In that case the court will use its own discretion from Level 1 up to Level 5, which is $200.”
Anyone found guilty under the new regulations shall be liable to a fine not exceeding Level 5 or to imprisonment not exceeding six months or to both such fine and imprisonment.
On Wednesday, chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba urged the public and motorists to respect the new regulations.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police would like to inform members of the public that there is new legislation, Statutory Instrument 41/16 which was put in place to deal with the mshikashika menace,” she said.
She said the public was discouraged from boarding pirate taxis or public service vehicles at undesignated points.
She said the Statutory Instrument makes it an offence for one to disregard regulatory markings such as “No hitch-hiking” signs.
“The no hitch-hiking sign indicates to a pedestrian that he or she shall not attempt to secure a lift from a passing vehicle and the driver of the vehicle that he or she shall not pick up passengers. This prohibition on hitch-hiking is effective for a distance of 500 metres beyond such a sign,” Snr Asst Comm Charamba said.
She said the Statutory Instrument further provides that any person who removes, damages, obscures or interferes with any sign or the support thereof, shall be guilty of an offence.
She said anyone found guilty under the regulations shall be liable to a fine not exceeding Level 5 or to imprisonment not exceeding six months or to both such fine and imprisonment.
The sign that prohibits the boarding of lifts at undesignated places has a crossed thumb.
It is also marked R207, indicating that a pedestrian must not attempt to secure a lift from a passing vehicle and the driver of a vehicle must not pick up passengers.
It is the responsibility of local authorities to erect the signs in the cities and towns with some of them already up in line with the sadc Protocol on Transport, Communication and Meteorology of 1999.