THE steep hike in tollgate fees by Finance minister Mthuli Ncube is unconstitutional and legislators must unanimously block the move, a top MDC official has said.
BY BRENNA MATENDERE
Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya and also the MDC secretary for transport and logistics, told this publication in an interview yesterday that it is ultra vires the Constitution for government to make free movement unaffordable.
In his recently tabled supplementary budget, Ncube hiked fees for tollgates. Light motor vehicles would now be required to pay $10 up from $2, mini-buses $15 up from $4 and conventional buses will now pay $20 up from $5. Heavy vehicles and haulage trucks will now pay $25 and $50, respectively.
However, Chikwinya, said Ncube had erred.
“Access to transport and affordability of the same is a basic right enshrined under the freedom of movement in our Constitution. So to levy road access by the proposed increment goes against the letter and spirit of Freedom of movement,” Chikwinya said.
He highlighted that the increases have piled more misery on the people, particularly civil servants.
“As things stand in the proposed budget, a married teacher cannot travel using public transport to see his or her spouse in Bulawayo or Harare using their salary. Basically, if approved, it means public transport in Harare or Bulawayo will now cost more than $150 per trip for a single person. A light motor vehicle will incur $50 on toll fees alone. That is ridiculous,” Chikwinya said.
“An MDC government will ensure safe roads that are accessible at reasonable fees commensurate with the income of the majority of our citizens who are civil servants.”
Route authority application fees have been increased from $25 to $125, operator’s licence application fee have been reviewed to $250 from $50. Original motor vehicle plates now cost $400 from $80, while changing number plates will attract a similar fee.