THE Zimbabwe National Roads Administration is struggling to cope with demand for vehicle licence renewals amid revelations their system was down. Motorists said yesterday that they had failed to renew their licences owing to long queues at Harare Main Post Office and CBZ Bank.
"I went to Zimpost yesterday (Thursday) and found that there was a very long queue and their system was taking very long to process licences, so I had to go away," Harare motorist Miss Norest Chinake said.
Another motorist, Gibson Tanga said he had been advised to return on Monday or Tuesday when the queues would have cleared.
A third motorist, however, said she was going to secure the licence through NMB Bank, which is an agent of Zinara
Zinara head-administration and human resources Mr Precious Murove conceded that they had been facing challenges with their system, but said they had since addressed the issue.
"Our system was down yesterday (Thursday) but we have managed to address the problem and we are working normally as you can see.
"On Thursday we only managed to process 9 000 licences because of the problem. Under normal circumstances, we do between 20 000 and 25 000 licences a day," he said.
He added that they had so far renewed the licences of 230 000 vehicles out of the 418 000 vehicles in their database.
They have engaged CBZ Bank, ZABG Bank, Met Bank and Zimpost to be their agents through which motorists can buy or renew their licences.
Zinara, he said, would not be penalising motorists for failing to renew their licences until the 30-day reprieve provided for in the Roads Act expires at the end of this month.
"Our system is automated to start charging penalties for late licence renewals only after 30 days so we cannot penalise anyone before that period lapses.
"I am not suggesting that the public should shelve plans to renew their licences.
"It is only Zinara that will not be on their case, but the police will be arresting motorists for using vehicles with expired licences so the public must hasten to acquire new licences if they had not," he said.
Mr Murove said their head office and the other office at the Harare Show Ground would remain open during weekends until the renewal of licences was completed.
Zimbabwe has a vehicle population of around 800 000, although many vehicles may have been omitted when the estimates were done for various reasons, said Mr Murove.
He said only 51 percent of the vehicles were in their records before adding that the rest were likely to be registered with the Central Vehicle Registry.
Mr Murove challenged the public not to wait for the last minute to renew their licences.
He said the situation would create unnecessary pressure and anxiety among stakeholders yet they should start renewing licences well ahead of the dates of expiry.
The penalty for late renewal of licences is 100 percent of the arrears, which means that if the arrears are for a small vehicle for which US$20 is required, then the penalty would be US$40 plus US$5 administration fee.