By Nompilo Mathuthu /Nomalanga Makwelo
Police in Bulawayo have impounded 120 vehicles and arrested 30 touts under the “No to pirate kombis ” , operation which is a fight against private commuter operators operating in defiance of governments regulation .
Only operators under the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) franchise are permitted by law to ferry commuters .
Provincial Police Spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube during a press briefing at Ross Camp Police Station said the operation is targeting illegal vehicles which have taken advantage of the lockdown relaxation to return to the roads.
“This operation which started yesterday (Monday) has seen a total 120 vehicles, kombis, buses, and private cars being impounded. A total of 30 touts were detained and will appear in court soon. We noted that these touts were becoming rowdy and have a mindset of attacking police officers. Last week they vandalised a police vehicle, yesterday a police officer was attacked at Mzilikazi/Makokoba. We want that to stop. The police will not only charge drivers but the owners of the vehicles too for allowing their vehicles to be used illegally.”
Inspector Ncube revealed that the police were working with different stakeholders in order for the programme to become a success .
” The Police are working in conjunction with the criminal investigation department (CID), Bulawayo City Council (BCC) ,ZRP support Unit, crime prevention unit and vehicle inspectorate department to catch illegal commuter operators who are violating the law and taking advantage of reduced police roadblocks after government eased lockdown regulations at the beginning of the month’,” said Inspector Ncube .
Skyz Metro FM news also spoke to the Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Passengers Association, Paul Makiwa who revealed that there is need for the government to address the issue of availability of transport in both rural and urban areas , as people are left with no choice but to use illegal transport which is quicker and readily available.