Unlicensed cars either stolen or smuggled says Zinara
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About 330 000 vehicles were registered, out of an estimated total of 800 000 in the country.
There was no last minute rush to register in Bulawayo on Saturday and the four Zimpost outlets that are registering agents for Zinara were relatively deserted yesterday.
Motorists have also said the estimated figure for the total vehicles on the country's roads is grossly understated, given reports that the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) was clearing an average of 450 vehicles through Beitbridge and Plumtree border posts every day.
In an interview yesterday Zinara spokesperson Mr Augustine Moyo, said a majority of those who failed to register could be holding on to cars that were smuggled into the country.
"It seems most motorists drew back when they heard that they were supposed to photocopy registration books and that they were going to be captured on the Zinara data base. We suspect that they could be driving stolen cars or cars that were brought into the country illegally. Registration would have exposed them," said Mr Moyo.
He said the newly created database, could only account for about 41 percent of the 800 000 vehicles that were registered with the Central Vehicle Registry.
"Surely, there are more than 330 000 vehicles on our roads. Failure to register also makes it difficult for us to plan road funding programmes as our data is based on the vehicles that acquired licence discs," said Mr Moyo.
He said a majority of motorists may have been used to buying fake discs.
He said the police would weed them out.
Motorists, who were interviewed yesterday, said if investigations were carried out, many people would be arrested for smuggling.
"You cannot say there are only 800 000 vehicles in this country. I think the vehicle population in Harare alone should be more than that," said Miss Bonakele Zhou (34) of Harare.
Another motorist said basing on Zimra statistics, the vehicles that had come into the country through the Beitbridge and Plumtree borders posts in the last five years was more than 800 000.
"This is a fact that is hard to ignore. Other cars also come in through other border posts like Beira, Nyamapanda, Kazungula and Victoria Falls.
"We also have car assembly plants in the country. An investigation might open a can of worms," said the motorists who declined to be named.
Contacted for comment Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena, the police national spokesperson said police would not launch a special operation to bring motorists who did not register to book.
"They will be caught at our routine roadblocks and inspection points," said Snr Asst Comm Bvudzijena.
He could not be drawn into discussing the possible number of vehicles in the country.
Meanwhile, Zinara has started charging the $45 penalty for those who failed to beat the deadline.
Licence discs, per vehicle per term, are $15 for motorcycles, $20 for small cars.
Owners of vehicles between three and seven tonnes fork out $45 while for vehicles above seven tonnes but below nine tonnes, the discs are $60 and those more than nine tonnes are $75.
Small trailer owners pay $15 and big trailers are charged $40.
Police fine motorists who fail to display the disc $10.
The fine goes up to $20 if the motorist does not have insurance, while repeat offenders risk having their vehicles impounded.
Initially, Zinara had set 31 May as the registration deadline but moved it to 30 June.
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