Cover Story

SSD driving permit suspended by parliament

By SasukTaban

The Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) has suspended the issuance of new traffic order that directs drivers in South Sudan to change their driving permits from the State permits to the national one, SSD after civil society organizations petitioned the parliament to intervene on the matter on 9th October 2017.

The petition was filed by the civil society under Schedule (B) 37 on the Powers of States by thirty Civil Society Organisations in the matter of the Council of Ministers Resolution number 25 on 2nd February 2016 and the Ministerial Order No. 31, 14th July 2017, which orders for a unified national traffic service in the country to be effected and thereby directed the Directorate for Traffic Police to implement the said resolution.

After the civil society petitioned the Parliament on 9th October, 2017 on the contentious issue of driving licences and number plates, the Speaker of the Assembly, Anthony Lino Makana directed the Parliamentary Committee on Legislation to work on the petition.

For about a week, the Committee engaged the leadership of the Traffic police and on the 19th of October, 2017, the Head of Traffic Police suspended the process until further notice.

Speaking to Juba Monitor yesterday, Jame David Kolok, the Executive Director of Foundation for Democracy and Accountable Governance (FODAG) said the suspension of the order was a good thing as it gives relief to the drivers from exorbitant penalties and charges for permit and cancellation of valid driving licenses.

Ever since the order was implemented on 14th July, 2017, drivers have constantly complained of harassment by traffic police officers along the roads. Mr. Kolok said the reason behind the petition by the civil society was for the Parliament to intervene on the matter, which affects the daily lives of the people.

Mr. Kolok said the order was issued abruptly and raised public outcry as people were not given ample time to renew their permits.

Earlier at a press conference on the 9th October 2017, Mr. Kolok said the order contravened the constitution of the States. He further said that the Council of Ministers Resolution No. 25 and the Ministerial order were illegal and unconstitutional and they deprive the states of their legal and legitimate source of revenue, which he said was contrary to Schedule (B) 37 and affront on the constitution.

“The Ministerial order does not comply with constitutional imperatives and principles and undermines good governance, separation of powers, transparency and accountability and socio-economic development,” he said. “Articles 47 and 48 on the decentralised system of governance prescribe the constitutional manner in which the national government should respect devolved powers,” Kolok said.

“Due to the current economic crisis, they will not be able since some are even finding it hard to fend for their families,” Mr. Kolok added.

Rajab Mohandis, the Executive Director of South Sudanese Network for Democracy and Elections (SSuNDE) said that ample time needs to be given to drivers to renew their permits preferably when it has expired.

The cancellation and issuance of SSD driving permits is SSP 5,300 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.

The petition was presented to the Speaker of the Council of States and the Clerk at the Transitional National Assembly by 32 Civil Society Organizations such as FODAG, SSuNDE among others.


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