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Police blitz rattles Bulawayo commuter taxis

by Staff reporter
16 Feb 2024 at 04:58hrs | Views
BULAWAYO police and Bulawayo City Council (BCC) have launched a blitz on pirate taxis, commuter omnibuses and touts to drive them out of the city.

The operation, which was launched on Monday this week has, however, led to an outcry by the affected operators whose source of income has been significantly curtailed.

Bulawayo provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Abednico Ncube said the operation sought to rid the city of pirate taxis targeting mushikashika vehicles which include some unregistered commuter omnibuses and small vehicles.

Ncube said the indefinite crackdown is also targeting trucks and other vehicles committing offences.

"Along the way we are even arresting any trucks or any other vehicle that will be committing an offence, including vehicles without fitness papers and so far we have impounded 44 vehicles," he said.

"In terms of time frame, we can't give a date or time when this operation is going to end, our time to stop is only when sanity prevails."

However, the affected operators said the police blitz had created a crisis for many who depended on the proceeds from their operations in a country with a high unemployment rate.

In an interview, Tatenda Ndlovu, a commuter omnibus marshals said: "This operation has affected a majority of us as we solely depend on this as our source of income. The cat and mouse chase has led to accidents."

He said it was difficult to find a job in Zimbabwe and the operation would contribute to a rise in drug abuse and crime.

"A majority of drivers and conductors have lost their jobs, the majority of them are breadwinners for their families, hunger will strike among their families," he added.

Thabani Nyoni, another marshal, said some of the routes they ply did not have bays at Egodini taxi rank.

"Some of the transport routes that we have here are not there in Egodini, this has caused a lot of people to arrive late at work," Nyoni said. "This is a way of assisting our community as we also benefit and it is better than stealing."

The operation has led to operators taking advantage of desperate commuters by charging US$1 up from R10 for a single trip.

A pirate taxi driver Methuli Mpala said the operation had affected his only source of income.

"There are no job opportunities in Bulawayo and throughout Zimbabwe. I was raised by a vendor who sells at the market and it hurts me a lot seeing the way they are treated and it was how I managed to get my driver's licence (sic)," Mpala said.

Ncube, however, urged members of the public to co-operate with the police operation saying there was no need for drivers to speed when they have been asked to stop by police officers.

"It is important that all the drivers stop and produce all papers, they should provide proof that you are a licensed driver (sic)," Ncube said.

"All vehicles that are on our roads should all have registration plates. We know that mushikashika drivers deliberately remove registration numbers to evade arrest."

"Members of the public, who board the pirate taxis, are urged and advised to use designated areas because once you are found at an undesignated place you will encounter some challenges of being removed from motor vehicles and sometimes fined for contributing to these offences," Ncube said.

Source - Southern Eye
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