Need Exists for Municipal Courts – Eiseb – Traffic Cases Important

The City Police say the creation of municipal courts could go a long way in reducing pressure on magistrates’ courts when it comes to dealing with traffic offences.

The deputy chief of the traffic management unit of the City Police, Adam Eiseb, on Monday said the proposition to create municipal courts has nothing to do with increasing revenue. He said he was not happy with the fact that traffic offences are viewed as less important in the magistrates’ courts compared to other offences.

New Era has learned that the municipal police force is pushing vigorously for the creation of a municipal court, so that it can rake in the millions of dollars generated through traffic fines annually. “There is talk of creating a municipal court. This will also help to increase our revenue, because the money paid by offenders will go directly to the City of Windhoek under which we fall. At the moment [such monies go] to the magistrates’ courts, even though the tickets are issued by the City Police,” said a source within the City Police.

Eiseb reiterated that the prospect of having municipal courts is not aimed at increasing revenue, but rather to make sure that offenders are punished without unnecessary delays. “The impact of the law should be felt as soon as possible. By the way, municipal courts are an international phenomenon. The enforcement of by-laws is also to ensure that the infrastructure in the city is maintained. Therefore, the idea of a municipal court is not to increase revenue, but to make an impact in terms of the significance of law enforcement,” Eiseb maintained. He however indicated that only national laws would determine whether the establishment of municipal courts is feasible or not. “We would welcome municipal courts, but we need to be guided by the national laws of course,” he said. Moreover, according to him, traffic offences are not given prominence compared to other offences in the magistrates’ courts.

“The court system makes provision for court offences relating to municipal by-laws, but we only have one courtroom for traffic cases yet you have different agencies implementing traffic laws. They all use the same court and this is one of the reasons why there is so much pressure on our courts,” he explained. Currently the Namibian Police, City Police and the Road Traffic and Transport Inspectorate of the Roads Authority all enforce traffic laws in Windhoek and offenders are all prosecuted in the Traffic Court in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court. “You can only submit a certain number of cases at a given time, not that it places limitations on law enforcement activities, but it means trial dates have to be stretched in order to cope with the limitations. We therefore suggest that the Ministry of Justice through the office of the Prosecutor General allocate more courtrooms for traffic offences,” he said. “We produce a minimum of 1500 cases per day without including automated law enforcement tools and there are over 50 000 warrants of arrest for execution, this shows that we need more traffic courts.” By Mathias Haufiku

Source : New Era