HOME Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo yesterday told Parliament that government had ordered police to reduce the number of roadblocks to 40 countrywide, which translates to four per province, following a public outcry from motorists and tourists, who described the numerous vehicle checkpoints as a great inconvenience.
by VENERANDA LANGA
Chombo made the remarks after he and his deputy, Obedingwa Mguni, appeared before the Dexter Nduna-led Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs to speak on roadblocks, where they also disclosed that they would next month commission the integrated electronic traffic system to electronically identify defective vehicles and traffic offenders.
“Government has told the Commissioner-General of Police, Augustine Chihuri, to remove all unnecessary roadblocks and mount necessary ones,” Chombo said.
“Roadblocks will be reduced to only 40 nationally before computerisation, and it means there will be four roadblocks per province unless there is a security threat or serious crime.”
On the integrated electronic traffic system, Chombo said 500 police gadgets had been acquired through a public-private partnership with Univern.
He said each police station would have its own gadget.
The electronic system will be integrated to road authorities such as the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration, the Central Vehicle Registry, police vehicle theft squad, Vehicle Inspection Department and Road Motor Transportation.
Chombo said the new electronic system would be multi-faceted to weed out rogue elements such as drivers without licences, traffic offenders and unroadworthy and unlicenced vehicles.
He said it would be so advanced that it would even weed out all fake licences that have been issued without the driver having gone through proper testing.
Chombo said the new electronic system would record sale and change of ownership of vehicles, and all the paperwork would be done in one day, as well as bringing to book rogue commuter omnibus drivers bent on disturbing the smooth flow of traffic and using undesignated routes.
The Home Affairs minister said more than 300 police officers had been nabbed and weeded out of the police force for different acts of corruption including theft of property belonging to the deceased at accident scenes.
He hailed the Zimbabwe Republic for carrying out its duties diligently to safeguard public security despite the limited resources.
Chombo denied claims roadblocks had become the force’s cash cow.
Mguni also told the committee that traffic police officers had been ordered to stop throwing spikes at moving vehicles pending the outcome of a court challenge filed by a local motorist.
He, however, said in countries like Belgium and South Africa police were allowed to use minimum force, including spikes, on errant drivers.