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Bulawayo Commuters Stranded As Police Block Vehicles Into CBD

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By Mbekezeli Ncube


BULAWAYO residents in the western suburbs of the city were left stranded Wednesday morning after the police blocked vehicles and unregistered kombis from ferrying people, mostly workers into the city centre.

The move followed a High Court ruling made Tuesday that ruled it was legal for the law enforcement agents to smash windows and throw spikes at unregistered kombis and other vehicles ferrying passengers despite the high risk posed on injuries and deaths of passengers.

On Wednesday, along the Luveve road leading into the central business district (CBD), police officers wielding razor-sharp spikes mounted three separate roadblocks and ordered all vehicles with passengers on board to make U-turns.

The situation was the same in other major roads leading into the CBD with members of the public forced to disembark and walk into town while others opted to return home.

Last year, the government banned kombis not registered with the state-owned company, the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) from operating.

It announced the new measures were meant to combat the spread of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.

However, ZUPCO is failing to cope with the demand are the public has resorted to unregistered kombis to travel.

Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) secretary, Thembelani Dube although they welcomed the government’s efforts in enforcing lockdown regulations, however, the unregistered kombis had become a relief to the travellers as ZUPCO was failing to cope with demand.

“We do appreciate the lockdown enforcement measures as a result of extension by another two weeks pronounced by the authorities. We also note that ZUPCO was forced to reduce its fares to $40 and $60 for buses and kombis respectively,” he told NewZimbabwe.com.

“However, for people using mass public systems, unregistered kombis have become an alternative mode of transport to save them from the harsh realities of the ZUPCO monopoly.

“To the residents, the monopoly has adverse effects of the unilateral increase in fares hence the residents will always welcome an alternative not the opposite,” said Dube.