Bongani Ndlovu, Chronicle Reporter
POLICE have said some motorists are using fake temporary vehicle number plates to avoid being arrested during the ongoing blitz on unregistered vehicles.
Unregistered vehicles and those without number plates are being used as getaway cars in the commission of dangerous crimes, including armed robberies, murder, rape and kidnapping.
In 2020, it was reported that the country had a number plate backlog, which saw motorists driving vehicles without plates.
Since the operation that started last Saturday, 3 926 people have been arrested. Yesterday alone, 1 688 were nabbed.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the operation has resulted in those with genuine number plates being delayed at roadblocks.
“There are vehicles which are using fake temporary identification certificates, or fake temporary number plates. So, we are verifying. I know there has been an outcry from people saying we have some temporary number plates and we are awaiting the availability of number plates.
We want to urge motorists to allow the police to verify whether a particular vehicle is genuine or not,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
He said members of the public should be reminded that temporary identification cards are to be used for specific journeys as prescribed by the Vehicle Registration and Licencing Act.
“We are concerned with motorists who are putting old number plates on cars so that they can pass police check points. Certainly, we shall effect arrests on those found on the wrong side of the law,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
“The Ministry of Transport has made it clear that there’s adequate stocks of number plates. So temporary number plates are for a specific journey, where a car is going to be parked until it is fitted with permanent number plates, as outlined in terms of the Vehicle Registration and Licencing Act. It’s not mandatory that temporary number plates are for vehicles to be moving around the country. Motorists must take note and comply.”
In the act, Sections 18 and 19 read: “Any person who wishes to use on a road for one specific journey, including a return journey, which will be completed within a period of not more than 14 days, any vehicle which is not registered or licensed under this Act and which would otherwise require to be so registered or licensed, may apply to a registering office or to an appropriate officer at a port of entry into Zimbabwe for the temporary identification of such a vehicle.
No person shall use any vehicle of which a temporary identification card has been issued for the carriage or haulage of passengers or goods or both for hire or reward.”