‘Car flagging lawful’ – High Court Judge
by Khonani Ontebetse
Justice Leatile Dambe of the Gaborone High Court has thrown out an application in which big transport owners, among them Mokoka’s Transport, had taken former Minister of Transport and Communication Frank Ramsden to court challenging the legality of the flagging system that he launched in 2011.
Dismissing the application, Dambe noted that the amendment Act no 27 of 2008 under section 18 of the Road Traffic Act; Cap 69.01 which introduced vehicle flagging is constitutionally valid.
“I also declare that statutory instrument No. 122 of 2010 which is the vehicle flagging regulations is not invalid,” said Dambe.
In their court papers the lawyers representing the big transporters had argued that by flagging the motor vehicles, the government is acting unlawfully as the instrument does not apply fundamental laws that accused persons should be presupposed innocent until proven guilty.
Vehicle flagging is the placement of a mark in the Vehicle Registration System which an authorized officer puts on the registration details of a vehicle for the purpose of alerting the Department of Road Transport and Safety that the owner or driver, as the case may be, of the vehicle in question has outstanding fines.
The consequence is to prevent any transaction in relation to the vehicle in question. In flagging a vehicle the Botswana Police Service will therefore put a mark against the registration details of a vehicle for purposes of alerting Department of Road Transport and Safety licensing office that the owner or driver of the vehicle in question has outstanding fine(s) owed government.
This placing of a mark or (flagging) will be done after 21 days upon which on offense has been committed if the offender has failed to pay the penalty thereof. According to the Act, the Department of Road Transport and Safety does not process any transactions relating to a flagged vehicle until all outstanding fines owned to government have been paid.