Stakeholders in the local motor industry yesterday appealed to government to stop importation of second-hand vehicles deemed unsuitable on the country’s terrain.
Motor Industry Association of Zimbabwe (MIAZ) president Benjamin Khumalo told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare that some of the vehicles, mostly from Japan were incompatible with the local terrain and were risky to road users.
“We are importing inappropriate vehicles for our territory. Altitude comes into play because while in Japan and the UK, it is low, here it is higher,” he said, adding that consideration also had to be made as to whether the vehicles’ suspension systems were either soft or heavy-duty.
The committee chaired by Mazowe West Zanu PF MP Margaret Zinyemba also heard that the imports had stifled growth of the local industry.
Khumalo said lately it had become easy to bring second-hand vehicles into Zimbabwe, raising suspicion of underhand dealings and circumvention of relevant regulations.
“At Beitbridge between 80 and 100 cars temporary licence plates have been issued daily in the last two years and it shows it’s the government that loses out on taxes,” he said.
He said prior to the year 2000, MIAZcould sell an average of 25 000 vehicles per year, but last year the number dropped to 7 200. In the last two years over
40 000 second-hand vehicles were imported into the country.
He said in countries such as South Africa, the importation of second hand vehicles was not allowed, and the automotive industry was strictly monitored.