Walter Mswazie, Masvingo Correspondent
POLICE in Masvingo have impounded 51 pirate taxis in a joint operation involving the Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) and Masvingo City Council aimed at restoring order in the city.
Masvingo police spokesperson Inspector Charity Mazula said the operation seeks to get rid of unregistered operators who have become a nuisance in the city and were competing with licensed commuter omnibuses and passenger bus operators.
She said the impounded vehicles were taken to Masvingo City Council premises for storage and would be subjected to inspection by the VID.
Insp Mazula said owners of the impounded vehicles are expected to pay fines and storage fees to get their vehicles back. “We’ve launched an operation to get rid of pirate taxis from within and outside the city starting Wednesday and we have so far impounded 51 pirate taxis.
“Our main aim is to retain sanity to the city and we’re targeting vehicles that have proved to be hazardous on our roads given the rate at which they cause accidents,” said Insp Mazula.
She said the majority of accidents reported in Masvingo and other parts of the country involved such operators.
The police spokesperson said unregistered vehicles would in most cases be overloaded and driven by unlicensed drivers putting the lives of passengers at risk.
“This is the first phase ending by the end of this month and the second one will start on a date to be notified. We’ll be monitoring the situation and all motorists with such vehicles shouldn’t be seen carrying passengers as they risk being arrested and their vehicles impounded. Once the vehicle is impounded it will be taken by Masvingo City Council to their storage space and a storage fee will be charged for each day that the car is parked at their premises. The owner of the car will also be made to pay a fine before claiming his or her car and the VID will also take them for fitness inspection,” said Insp Mazula.