KOMBI operators in Harare have accused council officials and the police of working in cahoots by impounding and detaining their vehicles for several days, forcing them to fork out large sums of money in storage fees.
Motorists said the delays became more pronounced last week after several unroadworthy public transport vehicles were impounded in a police blitz and detained at the council’s central stores.
The operators said besides paying the $80 clamping and tow away fees of $132, they were charged a storage fee of $17 per day for each vehicle detained at council’s storage facilities.
Contacted for comment yesterday, council spokesperson Leslie Gwindi denied the charges and blamed motorists for refusing to pay the set charges, hence the delays.
“The problem with these people (motorists) is that they will be busy calling around their friends to try and have the money reduced. These fines are not negotiable. You just have to pay the amount charged and your vehicle is released,” Gwindi said.
Police traffic spokesperson Inspector Tigere Chigome said there was an operation last week which was set at impounding all vehicles which had no requisite papers and those who were parking at undesignated places.
“During an operation we impound vehicles and we put them anywhere where we can get space until fines are paid,” Chigome said.
“Last week we had an operation targeting vehicles with no requisite papers and those parking at undesignated places in order to bring sanity in the city.”
One motorist said: “Police are impounding vehicles and taking them to Harare City Central Stores where we are then asked to pay huge amounts.”
“I had a kombi which was impounded by the police and it was taken to Central Stores where I was asked to pay $132 for a crime which was not committed, but I just paid the fine.”
Another motorist said he paid $300 for his vehicle to be released. Of late, police and kombi drivers have been fighting running battles, some of which have caused fatal accidents.