There can be no doubt about it, despite their obstinacy the government’s transport strategy is not working. Ever since the lockdown was eased, ZUPCO buses and kombis have had the urban transport monopoly as the government refuses to allow private transport operators back on the road. This has resulted in scores of people being forced to wake up early in the morning and to line up late in the evening as they wait for transport.
It’s not even clear why the government is not allowing private players to resume operations. The initial reason given was that private players would not be able to ensure the safety of passengers. Nowadays ZUPCO buses and kombis are often crowded. In any case, the government could bring back kombis under a strict safety regime. Currently a lot of passengers are now being forced to rely on rogue transport operators who don’t bother to follow safety protocols.
Kombis faced with steep fines
There is also the issue that those who are employed in the private passenger transport sector are facing starvation. Some of them have already begun getting back on the road. Recently some of these were arrested according to reports in the Chronicle. On separate occasions between 8 July and 16 July police arrested three kombi operators who were plying the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls route. Just like urban routes, only ZUPCO buses are allowed to ply inter-city routes.
The drivers of the four kombis are:
- Nyasha Arnold Chinyoka (28) of Mkhosana Victoria Falls,
- Jasper Mpofu (37) of Pumula East,
- Usher Mpofu (25) of Luveve and
- Xolisani Ndlovu (25) of Old Lobengula
All pleaded guilty in front of a magistrate after being charged with going against Section 4(2) of the Statutory Instrument 83 of 2020. They are each fined $3 000 ZWL in lieu of six months in prison.
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