Government will soon exempt legislators from paying toll fees once the necessary paperwork to enforce the policy has been completed, a Cabinet minister has said. Transport and Infrastractural Development Minister Obert Mpofu said legislators should submit number plates for their respective vehicles to the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration so that they are captured in a database for easy implementation of the policy.
Minister Mpofu said this in Senate on Thursday during a question and answer session.
Matabeleland South Senator Watchy Sibanda (MDC-T) had asked what had become of their request to Zinara that they be exempted from paying toll fees.
In response, Minister Mpofu said a meeting was convened recently by him and Zinara boss Mr Frank Chitukutuku to deliberate the treatment of legislators at tollgates, some of whom had called him, sometimes at night, to complain about ill-treatment at tollgates.
"We agreed that we will come up with a solution. We also highlighted that the cars being used by MPs should be given separate numbers so as to make it easy to ensure that the car that would be passing through belongs to a senator," said Minister Mpofu.
"The problem that we face is that there are some of us who want to be given that exemption of not paying tollgates while they will be using cars that do not belong to them."
He said all MPs would soon be required to submit registration numbers for their vehicles with Zinara so that when they approach a tollgate, the machine would recognise that the car belongs to a legislator.
"We will fix the problem. However, I would like to apologise for all the problems that you might have faced. Most of the time I receive phone calls, especially at night. It is one of those (issues)receiving maximum attention," he said.
Matabeleland North Senator Herbert Madolo Sinampande (MDC-T) asked if it was the car or the person that should be exempted.
Minister Mpofu said: "It is not the person, it is a car and the equipment that we are using that has to be reflected on our screens."
MPs have been clamouring for exemption from paying toll fees, arguing that most of the time, they would be performing parliamentary duties.
Government introduced toll fees as part of measures to raise funds to repair road infrastructure.
It has since installed toll plazas in some areas, which are highly sophisticated tollgates that are computerised to minimise pilferage.