THE police operation targeting unregistered vehicles and those without number plates in two days netted over 2 000 offenders showing that many people were driving unroadworthy vehicles on the country’s roads.
The operation started on Saturday and by Sunday night, 2 238 drivers had been arrested while some had their vehicles impounded.
The police were worried that in some high-profile crimes committed last year, unregistered vehicles were used as getaway cars by the criminals.
Last year, the country saw an increase in cases of armed robbery cases with President Mnangagwa at the end of the year saying the net was closing in on the criminals.
The police kickstarted 2022 with the operation targeting unregistered vehicles and those without number plates as a measure to eradicate the armed robberies and some criminal activities.
Even in accidents, unregistered vehicles can easily evade prosecution by fleeing from the scene making it hard to make a follow up on them.
Critically, those who drive on the country’s roads are also evading paying the relevant taxes and depriving the country of the much-needed revenue.
It is against this background that the police operation should be supported by all law-abiding Zimbabweans in order to bring sanity on the country’s roads.
On Monday, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona said his ministry fully supported the blitz by law enforcement agencies following prior warnings to the public to register their vehicles.
“The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development would like to inform motorists and the nation at large that the country has adequate number plates in stock and these are issued by the CVR and its agencies namely Zimra and Zimpost.
“The ministry notes that a number of car dealers are not registering motor vehicles on import which they then sell unregistered to clients,” he said.
“This is against the law as a motor vehicle is required to be registered upon entry in the name of the car dealer.
“Exemption is only given to those with bonded warehouses. Temporary number plates are only valid for 14 days.
“The ministry also notes the tendency by citizens not to collect their number plates even after paying for them. Currently we have 1 100 sets of number plates that have been processed and are ready for collection. The public is advised to check with CVR and collect their number plates.”
The minister said some motorists were disadvantaging others by not collecting their number plates after paying while in other cases some CVR officials were also being involved in corrupt tendencies, which the ministry is dealing with and such officials will be removed once investigations have been completed.
“In conclusion, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development would like to assure the motoring public of the adequacy of number plates in the country.
The ministry further informs the public that the blitz on unregistered vehicles will continue until compliance is achieved. After the road blitz, enforcement agencies will proceed to car sales and dealerships to ensure that they also comply,” said Minister Mhona.
Yesterday Minister Mhona toured the Central Vehicle Registry in Harare to find out the reasons behind some delays in the issuing of the number plates.
“Today I visited the CVR to understand why people are failing to get number plates on time. As the Second Republic we are saying we have enough plates in stock and no one should pay extra money to get them,” he posted on his Twitter handle yesterday afternoon.
“I am concerned that some motorists who applied for number plates last year are yet to receive them, but some who applied recently already have the number plates. We are going to decisively deal with this issue.”
The Government has decentralised the issuing of number plates and drivers can access them from the following post offices: Causeway and Southerton in Harare, Chitungwiza, Bulawayo, Mutare Main, Rusape, Bindura, Marondera, Chinhoyi, Masvingo, Victoria Falls and Hwange.
The Zimra tax offices issuing plates are those at Kurima House in Harare, Masvingo, Victoria Falls, Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare and Beitbridge.
CVR will soon be responsible only for issuing number plates to corporates, Government departments, diplomats and the replacement of lost number plates.
Private vehicle owners will buy and collect their sets from post offices and tax offices near their homes in all provinces.