Nqobile Tshili Chronicle Correspondent
POLICE in Bulawayo have impounded 185 pirate taxis operating in the city and arrested a number of drivers in a crackdown to restore sanity in the transport sector.
Police launched the campaign against pirate taxis last week on Wednesday and by Monday 185 vehicles had been impounded.
Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Precious Simango said the clampdown was an ongoing process to rid the city of illegal public transporters and faulty vehicles.
Insp Simango said police partnered with Bulawayo City Council (BCC), Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara), Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) and Vehicle Theft Squad (VTS) to conduct the operation.
“We’ve impounded 185 vehicles as part of strategies to fulfil promises we made when we launched our Client Service Charter in November last year. We promised people from the City of Kings and Queens that we’re going to bring sanity on the roads and we’re doing just that,” said Insp Simango.
She said some of the drivers who were arrested did not have licences, adding vehicle owners who employed unlicensed drivers risked arrest.
“We’re not just targeting drivers but owners of the cars because it’s illegal to employ someone who doesn’t have proper driving documents. If we find faults on the vehicle we take the owner to task as well,” she said.
Insp Simango said pirate taxi owners should formalise their operations instead of playing a cat and mouse game with police.
“They should register their vehicles as taxis if they want to be in the transport business. They’re in business yet they’re not remitting anything to the government. Therefore, they’re stealing by not paying taxes for their businesses,” she said.
Most of the pirate taxis that were impounded are Honda Fit vehicles.
She said pirate taxis were also causing accidents as they often stopped suddenly to pick passengers from illegal points.
The Chronicle news crew yesterday witnessed VID, BCC and Zinara officials checking the impounded vehicles for faults, licensing and outstanding traffic tickets.
Zinara vehicle licensing inspector, David Masinge said some of the cars were operating illegally as they were not registered in the country’s vehicle database.
Masinge said the motorists were committing fraud by having counterfeit licence discs.