The Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS) has started implementing an electronic ticketing system for motorists who commit road traffic offences, an arrangement that is set to replace spot fines.
The directorate said road traffic rules and regulations offenders issued with the tickets will have 14 days to pay their fines at any NBS Bank branch or risk having both their vehicles and driver’s licences suspended in the Malawi Traffic Information System (Maltis).
But in a written response to a questionnaire yesterday, DRTSS spokesperson Angellina Makwecha said the public will be notified about the processes once the spot fines are completely phased out.
“At the moment, we are implementing this [ticketing system] alongside the spot fines as the department is procuring electronic enforcement gadgets for every traffic law enforcer [DRTSS and Malawi Police Service Traffic Department].
“As regards to when the spot fines will be finally abandoned, the public will be notified accordingly,” she said.
When asked on the progress of the procurement process, including the cost, Makwecha said she would provide feedback today.
Yesterday, motorists gave mixed views on the pending change with some saying the electronic enforcement of fines would amplify corruption among traffic officers and others describing it as ideal.
“I do not think there will be any difference because the officers will even be more corrupt as motorists will be finding it a big deal to pay at the bank. I foresee many preferring to bribe officers right on the spot,” said Praise Phambana.
Another motorist, Stuart Chikoko, shared Phambana’s sentiments, but said the introduction of the electronic ticketing system will be a relief to motorists who have been subjected to several fines which have not been logical.
During the launch of the directorate’s Corruption and Fraud Prevention Policy and Client Service Charter in Lilongwe in January, Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director general Reyneck Matemba expressed worry over cases of corruption involving the directorate’s staff and clients, stressing that it poses a danger to road users.
He said it is evident that corruption in traffic management systems leads to increased number of road users; hence, the need to put interventions to minimise corruption.
Last year, motorists also expressed mixed reactions to a Ministry of Transport and Public Works suspension of implementation of new fines and fines for road traffic offences which were initially set to roll out on November 13 2017.
Minister of Transport and Public Works Jappie Mhango said the suspension of the new fines was meant to give authorities ample time to address concerns raised by different stakeholders.
However, the minister said the fines and service fees were introduced to curb accidents that continue claiming many lives on the country’s roads.
Under the suspended schedule, errant drivers were liable to pay up to 10 times more for specified errant crimes.
Nation Publications Limited (NPL) products—The Nation, Weekend Nation and Nation on Sunday—last year established increasing trends of corruption in the issuance of road permits and driver’s licences.
DRTSS rolled out the Maltis which was adopted in 2000 to capture, process and store traffic information and is used for the issuance and renewal of drivers’ licences, motor vehicle licences and permits, road permits and weighbridge data.