By Staff Reporter
THE government has banned all private commuter omnibuses popularly known as kombis from operating and has given a chance to owners to register their vehicles for them to operate under the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) franchise.
The latest development was announced by the Local Government Minister July Moyo Friday in a statement.
In March this year, President Emmerson Mnangagwa placed a temporary ban on the operations of private kombis as part of measures to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. The temporary had not been lifted.
“The Government of Zimbabwe is concerned with the illegal operation of private kombis which ply urban routes in Harare and other urban centers. The government strongly advises the private operators and the public, that urban transport services for the carriage of passengers, is restricted to those provided by the Zimbabwe United Passengers Company (ZUPCO) as provided for in Section 2(a) of Statutory Instrument 83 of 2020, Public Health (Covid-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (National Lockdown) Order 2020,” reads part of the statement.
Moyo added Zimbabwe was still fighting the global Covid19 pandemic and it is, therefore, not suitable to relax the lockdown restrictions.
“This is a health induced transport strategy, that is meant to ensure that the further spread of Covid-19 is contained. The country is not yet out of the woods, since we still have cases of Covid-19.
“The regulations that were put in place to prevent, contain, and treat Covid-19, are not meant to disadvantage those who invested in the transport, or any other sector, but to ensure that the objectives of the regulations are met. We note with great concern, that the operators who resist working with ZUPCO are usually those that are not registered, and do not meet the requirements,” said Moyo.
“Government is committed to have sanity in the urban transport services, and law enforcement agents have the authority to penalise those who contravene the law. As for pirate vehicles (Mushikashika), they are illegal.
“Any kombi or bus operator trying to ply intra-city routes in Harare or any City/ Town in Zimbabwe without a ZUPCO sticker, pirate vehicles, all vehicles using undesignated pick up points, risk being penalised and having their vehicles seized as provided for in the obtaining legislation,” read the statement.