Rufaro Winter, Chronicle Reporter
POLICE have said private company and school-owned buses can operate freely across the country contrary to social media claims that they must register with Zupco.
In a statement yesterday, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the ongoing blitz was targeted at illegal kombi operations who were breaking Government Covid-19 regulations.
“The police will only impound public service vehicles such as kombis or buses, which are carrying passengers while they are not registered under the Zupco franchise.
“In enforcing the Government’s Covid-19 regulations on transporters, the police will ensure that company and school-owned buses, which have the requisite documents, proof of ownership and all relevant registration processes are allowed passage at roadblocks and checkpoints,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
In line with the country’s laws and the need to protect the public, he explained that police will continue to impound illegal vehicles operating against laid down regulations.
Asst Comm Nyathi said there was no going back on the position to ensure public safety and clarified that anyone who wishes to transport members of the public must register with Zupco.
“Companies and schools, which intend to hire kombis or buses, which are not under Zupco franchise to transport workers should first seek clearance from the relevant ministry and Zupco.
“The police will only impound public service vehicles such as kombis or buses, which are carrying passengers while they are not registered under the Zupco franchise,” he explained.
Asst Comm Nyathi said this will assist in the maintenance of law and order in the country. He urged members of the public to continue following Covid-19 protocols as police have arrested over 167 000 people for not wearing masks since January this year.
Meanwhile, Bulawayo police spokesperson, Inspector Abednico Ncube, told a media briefing yesterday that in all the kombis that were impounded in Bulawayo recently, there was no single vehicle that belongs to schools or private companies.
“We have impounded over 400 kombis, buses and mshikashika, which are Honda Fits, those vehicles were banned by a Government proclamation. We have not impounded any private or school bus transport as you can see,” he said while showing journalists impounded vehicles at Ross Camp Police Station.
Insp Ncube members of the public should desist from boarding non-Zupco vehicles at illegal boarding points as they pose danger to them.
He said the reason the illegal operators continue was because they have support from the public.
However, commuters have raised concerns that the Zupco fleet is not adequate to meet demand for the service, forcing stranded travellers to resort to illegal operators.
This has seen schoolchildren and workers spending hours on bus queues resulting in them arriving late at their destinations and when returning home. “We urge Bulawayo residents to comply with the law. The law is very blind, it does not segregate, it cannot be bent so we enforce it as it is, therefore members of the public should desist from motor vehicles that are not enlisted with Zupco,” said Insp Ncube.