Damaging tollgates now risky, drivers warned

Mhona imposed penalties on those who “intentionally or unintentionally damage toll gates”.

DRIVERS who intentionally or unintentionally damage tollgates will be liable for their repairs, a Cabinet minister has said.

This is part of a series of measures announced by government last week as it steps up its revenue collection efforts, which include blocking access to tollgates to unregistered vehicles.

The development was announced by Transport and Infrastructure Development minister Felix Mhona in Statutory Instrument 5 of 2024 issued on Friday last week.Mhona imposed penalties on those who “intentionally or unintentionally damage toll gates”.

SI 5 of 2024 also prescribed the new tollgate fees included in the 2024 National Budget announced by Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion minister Mthuli Ncube last year.

According to the SI, anyone who intentionally damages or alters tolling infrastructure is liable for its replacement cost and those involved in accidents at tollgates would also be responsible for their repairs.

“Any person who wilfully damages, defaces, or alters in any way any tolling infrastructure shall be liable for its replacement cost as may be determined by the Road Fund. Any person who is involved in an accident that results in the damage of any tolling infrastructure shall be liable for the repair of such damage,” partly reads SI 5 of 2024.

According to the new regulations, vehicles driving on the country’s highways without valid licences are not allowed to pass through any tollgate.“For the purposes of enforcing collection of all required fees, an authorised person shall be permitted to deny passage through a tolling point to any vehicle that has an expired or does not have a valid vehicle licence in terms of the Vehicle Registration and Licensing Act,” the SI also reads.

“Vehicles belonging to members of the Zinara (Zimbabwe National Road Administration) Board for the duration of their appointment and any other institution or persons as may be approved by Zinara, provided that vehicles exempted under this provision, shall not exceed two vehicles per such institution or person,” he said.Meanwhile, Zinara has refuted claims that additional tollgates would be constructed on the country’s major roads.

“SI 39 of 2009 spells out all the designated points along the national highways where tollgates may be established. Some of these sites are gazetted, but have not yet been established as tolling points or tollgates.

“Meanwhile, the schedule of tollgates outlined in terms of SI 5 of 2024 identifies the tolling points along the premium roads, but does not create or establish any new tollgates outside those specified in SI 39 of 2009.

“Accordingly, no additional tollgates have been added to the current complement of toll gates on these and other routes,” Zinara said.Zinara head of corporate communications and marketing, Tsungie Manyeza said the new fees have been introduced to fund the Accelerated Road Infrastructure Rehabilitation Programme, which was mostly being funded by Treasury over the last three years.

“The toll fees adjustments are in line with the requirements of the new regulations contained in the Finance Act No 13 of 2023 which came into effect on January 1, 2024,” Said Manyeza.

“The new fees have been carefully considered to balance the need for accelerated road infrastructure rehabilitation funding which has over the past three years been funded largely through the Treasury.

“These revised fees are part of a broader strategy to enhance capacity for ongoing road rehabilitation and routine maintenance.”The tollgate fees on major roads have been doubled with light motor vehicles paying US$4 up from US$2 with the equivalent in the local currency paid at the prevailing bank rate.

Charges for minibuses on premium roads have also been doubled to US$6 up from US$3, buses (US$8) while heavy vehicles are now paying US$10.Charges for haulage trucks have been increased from US$10 to US$20.

Related Topics