Edwin Mwase and Praise Runyowa
Close to 500 000 vehicle owners are facing punitive action after they missed the deadline to register with the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara).
The deadline lapsed yesterday.
Police will begin fining motorists without the requisite vehicle licence discs today while the Ministry of Transport and Communications will also this week release mobile scanners to detect fake licence holders.
Zinara corporate communications executive Mr Augustine Moyo told The Sunday Mail last night that only 330 000 vehicle owners, out of a projected 800 000, had renewed their licences by close of business yesterday.
He said trailer, motorcycle, tractor as well as light and heavy vehicle owners were among those who complied with the statutory requirement.
Those who register from today onwards will be required to pay late registration fees.
“About 330 000 individual and corporate vehicle owners complied by the expiry of the deadline against a backdrop of 800 000 vehicles that are on the Central Vehicle Registry database,” he said.
“We are in the process of compiling our own database, which will ascertain the real number of vehicles in the country.”
Mr Moyo said Zinara strongly suspected that those who were yet to comply might be holding on to stolen or illegally imported cars.
“It is illogical for motorists with cars with all the necessary documents to fail to register. We strongly suspect some underhand tendencies,” he said.
National police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said law enforcement agents would fine motorists caught driving unregistered vehicles.
“Those who fail to display the new licence discs on their vehicles will be fined. We are simply resuscitating the operations that we had in the past,” he said.
Secretary for Transport and Communications Mr Munesu Munodawafa last week said his ministry would soon descend on fake licence disc holders.
He said mobile scanners will be used to detect counterfeits.
“There has been an attempt to introduce fake licences on the market and we have since apprehended some of the culprits,” he said.
“Those who had purchased fake licences should register their vehicles.”
Zinara introduced new vehicle licence discs after it lost millions of United States dollars to counterfeit document manufacturers.
Initially, the agency set May 31 as the deadline for registration, but later pushed it back to June 30 to allow motorists ample time to register.
It then made a sensational U-turn by reverting to the May 31 deadline. The High Court ruled that this timeline should stand after a Harare lawyer had applied for the court to allow vehicle owners to register by June 30.