THE Parliamentary Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services has conceded that some police officers assist criminals and the force has no capacity to curb smuggling because it is poorly equipped.
BY OWN CORRESPONDENT
The committee was in Beitbridge on Wednesday and Thursday as part of its countrywide tours to have an oversight specifically on service delivery by Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).
“We came to Beitbridge to get to know the challenges police are facing here in terms of law enforcement because we strongly feel that this is a potential revenue centre for government,” chairperson of the committee and former top police officer, Ronald Muderedzwa, said.
“We noted that the police are doing their best, but they are failing to contain smuggling activities because there are issues to do with logistics.”
The Buhera Central MP said sometimes police failure was a result of rogue members who teamed up with smugglers and other criminals.
“There are issues to do with logistics. They have no transport to cover the stretch of the border. There is also an issue with police officers sometimes not being honest. Some connive with criminals and assist magumaguma,” Muderedzwa said.
He said police should ensure people used official crossing points to remove antagonism with neighbouring South Africa, adding that Parliament would facilitate that police are equipped with vehicles.
“Basically, that is our thrust. We would like to get to a situation where smuggling is minimised, people using the correct routes to South Africa,” Muderedzwa said.
On roadblocks, Muderedzwa said police should not detain people without cash and urged members of the public to insist on official receipts for fines.
“We have been talking with the police to minimise roadblocks. They should also use discretion when it comes to issues where they realise that this person has no money,” he said.
Muderedzwa avoided commenting on a roadblock 10 metres from the border post, where police manning it turn a blind eye to marauding pirate taxis to “feast” on unsuspecting foreign motorists ticketed for reflective triangles, vests and fire extinguishers not asked for in South Africa.
The tourism sector, which hopes to earn $5 billion annually in the near future, has complained about the roadblocks being a deterrent to the growth of the sector.
Road hauliers who all along used Zimbabwe as a transit route to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Congo and Tanzania, have also abandoned Zimbabwe for less police-congested routes in Botswana.
On why the ZRP does not remit money collected from fines to Treasury, Muderedzwa said there was misinformation because the force retained part of the money for ancillaries, but not all the money.
Some junior police officers have, in the past, claimed their seniors set targets for them, resulting in some “funny” offences being created by police.