National News

Parliament petitioned to intervene on new traffic laws

By Sasuk Taban

Parliament has been petitioned under Schedule (B) 37 on the Powers of States by thirty Civil Society Organizations in the matter of the Council of Ministers Resolution number 25 on 2nd February 2016.

The petition was filed by the civil society based on the Council of Ministers Resolution number 25 and the Ministerial Order No. 31, on 14th July 2017 that orders a unified national traffic service in the country which directed the Directorate for Traffic Police to implement the said resolution.

Speaking to the media in Juba yesterday, Jame David Kolok, the Executive Director of the Foundation for Democracy and Accountable Governance (FODAG) said the new traffic order that directs drivers in South Sudan to change their driving license and number plates from the State, “CE”to the national one, “SSD” has raised public outcry.

“The order was issued abruptly, and people have not been given ample time to renew their permits and the public are unsure about who in particular is executing the order,” Mr. Jame questioned.

He added that the said order contravenes the constitution of the States. “The Ministerial order does not comply with constitutional provisions and principles and it also undermines good governance, separation of powers, transparency and accountability and socio-economic development,” Jame said.

He further said, the Ministerial order has shocked the civil society in a manner the National Government makes laws and orders. “Articles 47 and 48 on the decentralised system of governance prescribed the constitutional manner in which the national government should respect devolved powers,” Jame stressed.

He also said the reason behind the petition is for the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) to intervene on the matter which affects the daily lives of the people and rescue them from exorbitant penalties and charges for permit and cancellation of valid driving licenses.

“Some people have just renewed their permits a month ago and now they are forced to renew Due to the current economic crisis, they will not be able since some are even finding it hard to fend for their families,” Jame lamented.

The cancellation and issuance of SSD driving permits costs 5,300 South Sudanese Pounds (SSP), while the said amount is what the official receipt reflects, but the actual cost is SSP 7,000. Changing of number plates from the State ones to SSD costs 5,725 which may cumulatively rise to SSP 8,500.

Kolok further called on the government to develop name tags for the security organs in the country such that it makes it easier for the public to identify and report officers who harassed them. He further called on the parliament to see to it that the process is suspended until the constitution is amended and powers transferred to the national government.

Rajab Mohandis, the Executive Director of South Sudanese Network for Democracy and Elections (SSuNDE) said drivers have continued to face harassment and extortion from traffic policemen and traffic policewomen who are confiscating their permits and illegally charging the people, and the fees do not reflect on the receipts they issued.

“Ample time needs to be given to drivers to renew their permits preferably when it has expired and they wish to renew,” Mr. Mohandis advised. He further urged Members of Parliament to take adequate steps to stop the harassment of the public by the traffic police.

The civil society further recommended that the parliament should intervene in the matter, as the order limited public information, depicts high charges, exorbitant penalties and replacement of valid CE driving permits and lack of a clear timeline.

“Traffic officers especially in Juba are harassing motorists on the road. They stop people and charge them without any explanation and the charges are so high that people cannot afford,” Mohandis said.

The petition was presented to the Speaker of the Council of States and the Clerk at the Transitional National Legislative Assembly by 32 Civil Society Organizations—including;  FODAG, SSuNDE and others.

 

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