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Stern warning for non-Zupco kombis

by Staff reporter
17 Mar 2021 at 06:19hrs | Views
Defying the ban on non-Zupco kombis in the lockdown regulations, pirate kombis and pirate taxis have been sneaking back onto the road in ever-growing numbers, increasing the health risks for those that use them.

The banned kombis and illegal pirate taxis, commonly referred to as mushikashika, continued operating during the level four lockdown, although at sharply reduced levels since roadblocks would stop most, but are now back in full force in Harare.
Recently, President Mnangagwa directed the police to ensure that only designated transport operators such as Zupco continue to be the provider of public transport.

The President when he was commissioning the latest batch of new buses for Zupco, denounced private transport operators for abusing Government's empowerment initiatives extended to them over the years through unscrupulous behaviour.

National police spokesperson assistant commissioner Paul Nyathi said the police have since started arresting drivers of illegal kombis and mushikashika following complaints by passengers and impounding the vehicles.

"All those who are operating in any part of the country and within Harare we will continue arresting them," Ass Comm Nyathi said.

"At Morris Depot and Harare Central Police Station yards are kombis which we have impounded of people who are not complying with the Covid-19 regulations. So all those who have their kombis operating illegally will have them impounded and we will not give them back until Government lifts the ban on kombis.

"We also encourage people to report those who are operating illegally because kombis caught operating illegally will be impounded. There are also situations whereby some operators are putting Zupco stickers. Those people if caught risk being charged with charges related to misrepresentation," he said.

Kombi operators were given the opportunity to register with Zupco if their vehicles were roadworthy and they were prepared to operate under Zupco, but some have continued to defy the orders.

The pirate kombis are not adhering to the stipulated health guidelines, putting passengers at risk. Passengers are not checked for temperature when getting into the kombis nor are they being sanitised. City of Harare corporate communications manager Mr Michael Chideme said the council was making efforts to remove unregistered kombis on the streets and they were working with the police.

"We only recognise commuter omnibuses that are registered with Zupco. All those that are not registered remain illegal," he said.

A survey by the Herald around Harare suburbs has shown that these illegal kombis are now operating at increased levels. At Robert Mugabe Road and Fifth Street, next to Road Port, kombis were carrying people and were playing cat and mouse with the police. They were also operating along Seke Road just after they flyover ferrying commuters going to the southern suburbs and Chitungwiza.

The practice of kombi drivers driving unregistered vehicles and picking up passengers from undesignated points has been allowed to proliferate. They operate with impunity most of the time except for a few token raids by police.

Source - the herald

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