HOME Affairs deputy minister Obedingwa Mguni sees nothing wrong with reports of police officers urinating and or defecating in public places, particularly at roadblocks, arguing there is no enabling Act to criminalise the practice.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
Reports abound that police officers are forced to use the bush due to lack of ablution facilities at the countless roadblocks they mount on the country’s roads and Mguni told Senators on Thursday the act could be criminalised as it was not illegal.
Ironically, police are known to arrest people who urinate in public, demanding a $5 fine for the offence, and imbibers – particularly those who frequent bottle stores – have tales to tell of their encounters after being caught urinating.
“According to the Constitution, police are bringing peace, investigating crime, preventing crimes and they are also doing it on behalf of every ministry that is in Zimbabwe. So, if there is an Act that is being provided by the ministry who is heading the environment saying no one should urinate behind a tree, police will enforce that one.
“That is their duty and we do not enforce anything which is not lawful and where we do not have an Act to act upon it. We will act only when there is an Act that has been passed and is given to us to make the people act lawfully.
Therefore, if urinating behind the tree is now illegal, then the police will be informed by the Minister of Environment,” Mguni told Senators.
The Deputy Home Affairs minister was responding to a question by MDC-T Matabeleland South Senator Sithembile Mlotshwa, who wanted to “how police were enforcing anti-pollution laws” when “we see officers at roadblocks urinating and defecating in the open and affecting people by the nature’s smell. How do they apprehend the public?”
Mguni’s answer that the practice was not illegal because of a lack of enabling legislation did not amuse the Senator.
She said: “There is the Environmental Management Act and I think it provides that all (human) waste must be put in a toilet. So, if the police do not know that by now, we are in a danger because we are going to be infected.”