The Magistrate Mobile Court Team has recently held presentations for the Road Fund Board of Directors and Management Team as a briefing on operations of the Court during the second phase of the pilot campaign which commenced from September 22, 2020 to October 15, 2020.
The Team told the Board and Management that countywide a total number of 1,364 cases appeared before the Magistrate Mobile Court, 224 spot fines were issued while 584 overdue spot fines were found and duly paid.
The Team further indicated that top offense cases during the Phase 11 pilot campaign were, but not limited to, parastatal vehicles that failed to display clearance certificates, failure to produce drivers’ licenses, no public driving permits, failure to display number plate and tinted windows against conditions of the C and F permits.
In her opening remarks during the presentation to the Board, the Chief Magistrate ‘Matankiso Nthunya explained that the need for the Mobile Traffic Court became apparent during previous campaigns which revealed that effective enforcement of the Road Traffic Laws and Regulations required courts of law proceedings as most of the offences are to be adjudicated by the courts. She said as thus, the courts were invited to join the campaigns on a trial basis to enhance the process yielding more than expected results, hence the Magistrate Mobile Court.
She highlighted the need for the Mobile Court to be handed over to the Chief Justice as proper procedure, so that it can be well positioned to perform its mandate, clarifying that the Chief Justice will then assign it to the Magistrate Court as traffic cases are handled therein.
The Magistrate Mobile Court Team Leader Magistrate ‘Makopano Rantšo said they were happy about the impact that the Court made during the time it was in operation, adding that compliance on road traffic laws increased especially obtaining and renewal of licenses that enable road users to be on the roads.
“The Court changed a lot of things as the taxi operators and motorists came to learn and understand the rules and regulations of the road; and through their knowledge the number of road offences greatly reduced thereby also reducing number of spot fines issued,” stated Mrs. Rantšo.
Other Mobile Court Team members echoed Magistrate Rantšo’s words by noting that Phase 11 pilot campaign was a success and highlighted that amongst others, there was exposure of the Magistrate Court operations to the public, proper display of number plates, removal of tints on public transport, increased publicity of the Court’s operations as well as improved reputation or dignity of the traffic police officers.
According to the Team, some of the challenges they faced included ignorance and or lack of knowledge about the road traffic laws by the public and some traffic police officers, a lot of deliberate misinformation about the operation of the Mobile Court which resulted in bad publicity as well as termination of the Magistrate Mobile Court Campaign phase II operation pre-maturely by the Government.
In conclusion the Team proposed that education on road traffic laws be continued and that the Magistrate Mobile Court Team be allowed to hold similar presentations to relevant authorities on their mode of operation for further understanding, and also for the Court to be reinstated to continue with its mandate.
In his closing remarks the Road Fund Chief Executive Officer Mr. Nkekeletse Makara acknowledged the team for consistency on their work during the campaign, the well standing cooperation between them as team work is key to achieving success.
The Magistrate Mobile Court started working in the country on July 01, 2020 following the official handing over of the Court from Road Fund to the Ministry of Law and Justice. Its work was terminated during Phase II of the pilot campaign.