Zimbabwe’s Minister of Local Government and Public Works July Moyo reiterates that companies engaging private transport operators must do so through the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO).
In its quest to sanitise the urban transport sector, private commuter omnibus (kombi) operators will not be returning to business anytime soon. Moyo made the comments in an interview with State media on the sidelines of handover and launch of the Local Authorities Database System (LADS) and Ward Profiles for Matabeleland and Midlands provinces yesterday.
Moyo says ZUPCO affiliated commuter omnibuses are the only ones allowed to operate, that is the policy in place and it has not changed. Anybody who has their own buses and wants to operate must register with ZUPCO.
This is to ensure that we manage urban companies through one company but with many owners.
This is to bring sanity to the whole system. Even companies that want to hire buses for their workers should do so through ZUPCO alone and not hire private companies.
Last week hundreds of people, including schoolchildren in Bulawayo, were left stranded as police impounded staff buses, vehicles hired to ferry school children that are not registered under ZUPCO and pirate taxis.
This resulted in chaos as most school children who are ferried to schools in hired buses were stranded while some workers failed to get to work in time.
The private-owned commuter omnibuses have been banned since the lockdown was effected on 30 March last year as part of measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus and only operators affiliated with ZUPCO were allowed to operate.
However, members of the public are now facing massive transport challenges as the ZUPCO buses are inadequate.
MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa said the government should lift the ban on private omnibus (kombi) operators and allow them to operate as before.
Chamisa argued that the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) monopoly is not only illegal but has rendered thousands of Zimbabwean youths jobless.
Chamisa stated in a tweet:
The illegal ZUPCO monopoly has left many jobless and brought suffering leaving many stranded or in overcrowded rickety buses and resorting to insecure open trucks. ZUPCO is potentially a COVID-19 super spreader but ‘Chefs’ don’t care. #BringbackKombis
People spend hours in crowded bus termini especially during peak hours thus exposing them to unfriendly weather elements and the deadly coronavirus.