Sukulwenkosi Dube Plumtree Correspondent
PLUMTREE commuters were left stranded yesterday after taxi operators abandoned business in protest over numerous roadblocks mounted by traffic police in the border town.Residents rely on taxis to commute from the Central Business District to various suburbs.
They also rely on the same taxis to travel to the Plumtree Border Post.
Kombi operators who ply the Plumtree-Bulawayo route tried to take advantage of the situation by ferrying commuters but were blocked by taxi operators.
Fuming taxi operators who spent the whole day milling at their terminus outside the Plumtree Post Office said the police were milking them of their earnings.
They said they would not commence their operations unless the police agreed to remove the roadblocks.
Plumtree Town taxi rank marshal, Edson Moyo, said the police were mounting three roadblocks within a three kilometre distance.
“It’s a three kilometre distance to travel from town to the furthest suburb which is Mathendele area but you find two or three roadblocks along that route.
“The police expect us to stop at every roadblock and we’re forced to pay spot fines. How do they expect us to operate?” said Moyo.
He said the situation had prevailed for some time now.
Moyo said yesterday the police mounted a roadblock around 6AM and were demanding $20 to $30 spot fines which forced the taxi operators to park their vehicles.
The Plumtree Border Post rank marshal, Allan Msimanga, said traffic cops were mounting a roadblock with four shifts along the Plumtree Town- Border route.
He said in each shift the taxi operators would be stopped by the traffic cops and issued with tickets.
“The same taxis ply the border route but they’re stopped four times in a day by police who change shifts. They don’t even understand when we show them tickets issued to us earlier by the other shift,” said Msimanga.
He said the taxi operators were struggling to make ends meet because of a limited number of customers but traffic cops were worsening the situation.
Msimanga accused the cops of running their own businesses of pirating using their private vehicles.
He said taxi operators were on several occasions threatened by cops after questioning why they were operating pirate taxis.
The taxi operators said police roadblocks in Plumtree had turned into taxi roadblocks as they only targeted them and their money.