Zimbabwe: Police in Major Climbdown On School, Company Buses Ban

Mabelreign Girls High School pupils (file photo).

Police in Bulawayo were Tuesday forced to make a major climbdown on its controversial directive to ban company and school buses, which are not registered with the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) from operating.

Police in the city had banned company and school buses and kombis from ferrying students and workers, saying ZUPCO was the only public transporter allowed to carry passengers as directed by the government under Covid-19 restrictions.

However, the move attracted the ire of public commuters who are spending more than five hours queening for transport as the few ZUPCO buses are failing to cope up with demand.

This prompted the police to reverse its controversial directive as some companies and schools have resorted to using their own private fleet to ferry workers or students.

"In enforcing the government's Covid-19 regulations on transporters, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) will make sure that company and school vehicles, which have the requisite documents, proof of ownership and all relevant registration processes are allowed passage at roadblocks and checkpoints," Bulawayo police spokesperson Abednico Ncube said at a press conference at Ross Police Camp Wednesday.

"ZRP wishes to set the record straight on the use of company and school-owned buses to carry staff and pupils throughout the country. This clarity will also assist to correct the statement being attributed to the Bulawayo provincial spokesperson which recently went viral on social media."

Ncube added companies and schools that intend to hire kombis and buses, not under the ZUPCO franchise should first seek clearance from the Transport Ministry and ZUPCO.

"This will assist law enforcement officers in the maintenance of law and order on the roads," he said adding this would also assist in tracking traffic-related crimes which had increased of late.

However, the police spokesperson warned the ZRP would continue impounding banned public service vehicles such as kombis and buses, which are ferrying passengers but are not registered under the ZUPCO franchise

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