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Motorcycle-taxi drivers in Chimoio, the provincial capital of Manica, have accused local police of levying fines much higher than provided for by law, and are contesting what they call an “exorbitant” monthly fee for carrying on their trade activity, asking the city council to take action.
Speaking anonymously, a moto-taxi driver related his own experience to DW Africa.
“This municipal police officer said that I was fined 900 meticais. I said that I did not have that amount of money and he asked me how much did I have. I answered that I had nothing and he told me to look for 300 meticais. I left my motorcycle with them and I went home to look for the 300 meticais. When I brought the money, the policeman had already left with my motorcycle for the command. I went after him and in the police command I explained the situation to the officer there. He gave me my motorcycle back and I didn’t pay any fine, not even 10 meticais – he did not ask me for any money,”.
According to Chiganda Isaías, the representative of the motorcycle taxi drivers in Chimoio, this is not an isolated case. Police officers on the street routinely charge fines of 5,000 meticais (about 66 Euros), far above what is provided for by law, Isaias says.
“All is not well. They’re doing things that do not help, and the fines they’re handing out to motorcycle taxi guys are very high. Lately they’ve got fines of 5,000, 4,000, and 3,000 meticais. What is worse, they do not take the seized motorcycle to the police station: they drive around on them, which annoys the drivers,” Isaías says.
Councilman clarifies situation
In response, Lucas Chiguma, Transport Department councillor in Manica city, says that if the motorcycle-taxi drivers allegations are correct, the police are acting illegally.
“I confirm that this is indeed corrupt practice and call on all motorcycle-taxi operators not to acquiesce in this behaviour,” he says.
The councilman further clarifies that “the individual legally fined must deposit the amount of the fine in the coffers of the Municipal Council, where he will receive a receipt”. Fines are not payable directly to the police.
PRM requests that complaints are filed
Police deny illegal fines are being levied. Municipal police spokesman Paulo Eduardo Gimo, says that the schedule of fines is well established: anyone caught without a helmet, vehicle registration document, driver’s licence and annual circulation license has to pay 3,500 meticais (about 40 euros).
“Any motorcycle-taxi driver who is caught without these requirements has to pay the fine due,” he explains.
The police, moreover, urge the public to report any irregularity. “If there is an isolated case of this, we urge the motorcycle-taxi driver himself go to the municipal police command and obtain better clarification, so as to avoid speculation.”
The motorcycle-taxi drivers also complain about the 450 meticais monthly fee charged by the city and the lack of security in the streets.
Two drivers have been killed this year, and seven died last year. Recently, hundreds of motorcycle-taxi drivers staged a protest strike, demanding the municipality take action.Source: Deutsche Welle