By Gama Hassan Oscas
In recent years, South Sudan’s traffic authorities have been issuing drivers’ test certificates after individuals have already been licensed to drive, deviating from the conventional practice of testing before issuing driving permits. Moreover, they have introduced expiry dates for these test certificates, logbooks, and even the renewal of certificates. These practices have raised serious legal concerns as they lack a clear legal basis in the Traffic Act of 2003. Additionally, traffic police officers, who are tasked with enforcing these practices, often struggle to identify faults in drivers and link them to the law. This opinion news article aims to analyze and criticize the legality of these practices, highlighting the potential consequences and the need for regulatory reforms.
Absence of Legal Provisions:
One of the primary concerns surrounding South Sudan’s traffic practices is the absence of any provision in the Traffic Act of 2003 that empowers traffic authorities to issue test certificates after the issuance of driving permits. This raises doubts about the legality and validity of such certificates. Without a clear legal framework, these practices lack accountability and transparency, potentially leading to misinterpretation and abuse of power by the traffic authorities.
Expiry of Test Certificates and Logbooks:
Another troubling aspect of these practices is the introduction of expiry dates for test certificates and logbooks. It is unclear what purpose these expirations serve, as there is no explicit provision within the Traffic Act that mandates such time-bound limitations. The lack of legal backing for these expiry dates raises questions about their necessity and legitimacy, potentially creating confusion and unnecessary burdens for drivers.
Renewal of Certificates:
The introduction of renewal requirements for test certificates further exacerbates the legal concerns. While periodic evaluations of driving skills are crucial for maintaining road safety, it is essential that such requirements are clearly outlined within the legal framework. The absence of provisions regarding certificate renewal in the Traffic Act raises doubts about the legitimacy and fairness of this practice. It is crucial to strike a balance between ensuring road safety and protecting the rights of drivers, which can only be achieved through comprehensive and well-defined legal provisions.
Lack of Enforcement Clarity:
The enforcement of these practices by traffic police officers becomes increasingly challenging due to the absence of a direct link between driver faults or mistakes and the law. Without clear guidelines and provisions, it becomes difficult to establish a legal basis for penalizing drivers. This lack of clarity undermines the credibility and effectiveness of traffic law enforcement, potentially leading to inconsistent implementation and unfair treatment of drivers.
South Sudan’s traffic practices, such as issuing test certificates after drivers have already been licensed, introducing expiry dates for certificates and logbooks, and requiring certificate renewals, are fraught with legal concerns. The absence of specific provisions in the Traffic Act of 2003 renders these practices questionable and undermines their legality and enforceability. There is an urgent need for regulatory reforms to address these concerns, ensuring that road safety measures are based on clear legal provisions and established procedures. By enhancing transparency, accountability, and legal clarity, South Sudan can work towards a more robust and effective traffic management system that protects the rights of drivers while prioritizing road safety.”