Police have refused to ticket motorists without new vehicle licences saying they did not take orders from the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara).
This follows Zinara’s directive on Tuesday ordering police to crack down on unlicensed motor vehicles after the authority had scrapped a 30-day deadline it had granted motorists to obtain the licences.
However, police in Bulawayo yesterday declined to enforce the order, insisting that as far as they were concerned, Zinara had extended the deadline and that position had not changed.
“We don’t take instructions from Zinara,” said Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Mandlenkosi Moyo.
“The position is that Zinara has extended its deadline and that is what we go by. We are a disciplined force and we will only start ticketing motorists if we get official communication from Zinara through our Police General Headquarters (PGHG) in Harare.
“We have instructed our officers not to ask for the vehicle licences nor to ticket anyone until such a time they are given an instruction to do so. We don’t want to involve ourselves in Zinara’s problems. We are a clean force and we do our business above board and we will remain so, being professional.”
Moyo said police officers who arrested motorists without new licence discs were acting outside the law.
NewsDay yesterday observed that police had mounted several roadblocks on most roads leading to the city centre early in the morning, but later removed them, leaving motorists to drive without hindrance.
Police in Harare could neither confirm nor deny the development. Police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka refered NewsDay to his junior Superintendent Andrew Phiri who could not be reached on his mobile phone.
An estimated 580 000 motorists had failed to beat the May 31 deadline and the extension of the deadline to June 30 had come as a relief.
Announcing the immediate scrapping of the June 30 deadline, Zinara spokesperson Augustine Moyo accused motorists of going on a “honeymoon” soon after the announcement of the extension.
“With effect from midnight today (Tuesday), police will be ticketing motorists who do not have valid licence discs. We have scrapped the extension,” said Moyo.
“I have toured Matabeleland North and South provinces in the last 48 hours and the outlets are empty. People will want to come and start registering on 29 June and will fail to beat the deadline again. It seems Zimbabweans work better under pressure, so they have taken the extension as a honeymoon.”
The decision sparked an outcry from motorists and lawyers who described it as illegal and tantamount to extortion.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights yesterday filed an urgent court application at the High Court seeking to stop Zinara from scrapping the 30-day deadline extension.