$2 000 fine for travellers using illegal transport
$2 000 fine for travellers using illegal transport. In a move seen by many as a government’s way to monopolise the transport sector, travellers who board buses, kombis and mushikashika not registered under the Zupco franchise now risk fines of $2 000 per head.
Police have recently stepped up operations against errant bus, commuter omnibus and private car operators who they say are defying Covid-19 lockdown regulations. As of now, police are still in the process of screening the 50 buses they impounded on Tuesday for breaching inter-city travelling regulations. This latest breach has been fueled by the Zimbabwean Government’s decision to allow inter-city travel for students only. Many "illegal transport operators" took this opportunity to continue business pretending they were just ferrying students back to schools.
The police screening process will determine whether the operators can pay a deposit fine or go to court where, if found guilty of flouting the lockdown regulations.
About 170 passengers in Harare were on Tuesday fined $2 000 each for boarding these buses while 90 more were arrested yesterday.
"They were charged for contravening Section 7 (2) as read with 49 (2) of The Road Traffic (Traffic Signs and Signal) Regulations of 2016, which is, “Failure to obey any instructions or control imposed by any regulatory signs as specified under such sign in Class 1(a) (i) in the First Schedule eg, No hitch hiking, stop sign, be stopping, no overtaking, weight prohibition, no parking, no right/left turn, etc.
The fine is level 3, which is a maximum of $2 000.
The Officer Commanding Harare province, Commissioner Wonder Tembo, said, "We are continuously disturbed by traffic congestion on our roads being caused by errant drivers mostly those operating the so-called mushikashika. We have declared war against these illegal transporters who continuously defy clear laws of the land. We are heavily descending on you and (you) will suffer the consequences of the law.
"All bus and kombi operators who are equally operating outside the law shall suffer the same fate, you have been warned. More so, the road carnage is contributing to loss of precious lives, let us therefore obey road rules and regulations."
He also warned that officers engaging in corrupt practices will face the full wrath of the law.
"What is disturbing to note is that buses will travel all the way from South Africa to Harare passing all these provinces, Matabeleland South, Masvingo, Midlands and Harare where there are our officers.
"We want all these buses to be impounded and the drivers arrested and I would like to declare war on corrupt officers who receive bribes. Both the officers and those who give the bribes should be arrested," Comm Tembo said.