The Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS) has defended the new regulation that requires motor vehicle owners to obtain a Certificate of Fitness (CoF) for vehicles less than five years old, contrary to a previous law.
Early this month, the directorate advised motorists to obtain CoFs for vehicles aged zero to five years and there have been reports that DRTSS seems to have ambushed them because that was not the practice in the past.
A law scholar based in United Kingdom, Sunduzwayo Madise, wrote on Facebook that the Road Traffic (Miscellaneous Fees) Regulations indicated that a private passenger vehicle shall be eligible for CoF upon reaching five years old.
Madise wondered if the law had changed and if it had asked the DRTSS to update the regulations made under Section 181 because the published law indicates the position as it was made by the 1998 regulations.
Madise did not rule out the possibility that officials at DRTSS read the principal Road Traffic Act without consulting the regulations and started implementing it.
“If the law has not changed, stop this immediately. It is illegal and ultra vires [beyond your powers],” Madise wrote.
But DRTSS director Jacques Manonga said the subsidiary regulations guiding CoFs is coming from the Road Traffic Act because the Road Traffic (Miscellaneous Fees) Regulations of 1998 was outdated.
In an interview, he said DRTSS was sensitising vehicle owners and the public because CoF testing was a requirement by law.
Being in contravention of CoF regulations such as using a vehicle without a CoF results in a fine of K5 000, under Road Traffic (Prescribed offences and penalties) (Amendment) regulations of 2014. n