Zimbabwe: Illegal Kombis Put On Notice

Private kombis and pirate taxis that are illegally plying urban routes will be dealt with decisively as police are set to increase their operations following the continued flouting of Covid-19 regulations by the transporters.

In her post-Cabinet briefing on Tuesday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the Vehicle Inspectorate Department (VID), police and the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ) will continue to enhance surveillance and enforcement in response to the upsurge of unregistered private kombis plying the country's urban routes.

Government decreed that all public transporters in urban centres should be registered under the Zupco ambit as it brings sanity to the transport sector.

Since the beginning of lockdown, only Zupco registered buses and kombis are allowed to transport commuters in terms of Covid-19 prevention regulations. "Government notes with concern the increasing disregard of Covid-19 preventive measures by the general public. Members of the public are urged to continue observing Covid-19 regulations and control measures, especially the wearing of face-masks in public, maintaining social distance and frequent sanitisation. We are not yet out of danger!" said Minister Mutsvangwa.

She said police will continue to strengthen the enforcement of Covid-19 control measures and increase surveillance. "Related to this, the Vehicle Inspectorate Department (VID), the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe continue to enhance surveillance and enforcement in response to the upsurge of unregistered private kombis plying the country's urban routes. Owners of these vehicles are called upon to register with Zupco if they wish to operate on the country's roads," said Minister Mutsvangwa.

"Drivers and crews of registered buses and kombis operating under the Zupco franchise are urged to strictly adhere to road rules and regulations as well as Covid-19 guidelines in order to avoid unnecessary delays to the travelling public and brushes with the law enforcement agencies."

Police have since launched a blitz targeted at illegal kombi operations who are breaking Covid-19 regulations.

Police have intensified the operation against illegal kombis, with over 8 000 impounded so far while a blitz against pirate, private vehicles commonly known as mushikashika, was tightened in Harare on Monday with many of the cars impounded.

Last week, police in Bulawayo impounded over 400 kombis, buses and Honda Fit pirate taxis for violating regulations.

However, despite the police operation, some officers still allows such vehicles passage at police check points on condition they pay a fee ranging from US$2 to US$5 if the kombi or pirate car is plying the highway.

Minister Mutsvangwa said Cabinet also noted an increased economic activity due to the decisive interventions by Government on the financial sector.

"Additionally, the easing of the lockdown measures, the increased availability of fuel on the local market, and increased economic activity, has seen the number of cars on our roads increase and this has resulted in vehicle traffic congestion," she said. "

To that end, an Inter-Ministerial Committee chaired by the Minister of Local Government and Public Works has been directed to look into decongesting the roads and addressing the poor the lighting in our cities. The Minister urged road users to be cautious on the roads and observe the laid down regulations, saying some are now causing chaos.

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