COMMUTER omnibus operators have accused “corrupt” traffic police officers of fuelling road carnage by letting drivers of defective kombis pass through roadblocks after bribing their way, adding that over 60% of the public service vehicles on major roads are unregistered.
by XOLISANI NCUBE
Addressing members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development, Edmore Matseketu, chairperson of Bindura Commuter Operators, which is a member of Zimbabwe National Commuter Omnibus Association, said traffic officers on major highways had become more of revenue collectors than law enforcers.
“Police have become more of a revenue collection than policing agent. They cannot impound vehicles that are not roadworthy because they want to meet their targets. If it has no good tyres, passenger insurance, all relevant documents, they just write a ticket and let them pass (sic). That is when you hear 30km from the roadblock, there has been an accident,” he said.
The public transporters said at least 60% of kombis on the roads were not registered with local authorities and some did not have passenger insurance, exposing public transport users.
Aaron Tapfuma, chairperson of Zimbabwe National Commuter Omnibus Association, said because police officers seem to be more concerned with ticket issuance than protecting the passengers, some kombi drivers no longer had respect for road regulations.
“Once they get these tickets, they become unruly. He can drive in your lane and you have to give them way (sic). It’s like they would have been given a passport to cross the border. If you don’t protect registered operators from those unregistered ones, then you are creating chaos.
Where we had 5 000 registered operators two years ago, it’s no longer the same,” he said.
“A lot of operators are saying: Why should I bother getting the vehicle registered, inspected for fitness or get passenger insurance if I’m not protected?”
Tapfuma said some kombi operators — especially the unregistered ones — were employing drivers who do not qualify to drive public service vehicles and some have vehicles that are not roadworthy.
He said although the transport sector was fragmented, operators in Bulawayo were united through associations and this had helped them as an umbrella body to lobby local authorities, the police and government as one for better service.
Tapfuma said the government should integrate the transport management system to ensure all operators are served in a one-stop facility to ensure compliance with the law and protection of the public.