The Sunday Mail
Emmanuel Kafe and Tanyaradzwa Chatyoka
Police have arrested more than 9 000 motorists under Operation Tame the Traffic Jungle for violating road regulations as the authorities step up efforts to ensure compliance with road laws.
More than 4 000 vehicles — including unregistered cars, pirate taxis and commuter omnibuses — have been impounded since commencement of the operation on Wednesday last week.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said: “The ZRP reports that a total of 9 673 arrests have been effected during the ongoing operation ‘Tame the Traffic Jungle’.
“A total of 4 307 vehicles have been impounded for moving on the country’s roads with defects, while 309 vehicles have also been impounded for moving on the roads with no registration plates.”
The operation is also targeting those who violate street parking regulations, particularly in urban centres, where indiscipline has become rife in recent months.
The operation is also targeting vehicles imported into the country without paying duty.
The multi-agency operation also involves the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe, the Vehicle Examination Department, the Insurance Council of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, and city and town councils.
The operation has also led to public transport shortages in Harare, where illegal transporters have begun raising fares.
Passengers Association of Zimbabwe (PAZ) national coordinator Mr Tafadzwa Goliati said similar operations in the past have not adequately addressed problems of illicit road use by motorists.
“What lacks is a holistic strategy involving the full contribution of the public transport community,” he said.
“There is a need for inclusive dialogue for sustainable solutions between public transporters and law-enforcement agents because, as it stands, public transport operators perceive the police as their enemies.”
Mr Goliati said while attempting to bring back sanity on the country’s roads was a good initiative, such operations have a ripple effect on commuters.
“Inclusiveness is lacking and its effect is huge, for instance, commuting the Harare-Chitungwiza route is now costing passengers US$2,50.
“Learners are failing to go to school and workers cannot afford to go to work.
“The economy also suffers.”
Harare Residents Trust executive director Mr Precious Shumba said there was a need for an organised modernised mass public transportation system.
“Without a functional public transportation system, some police officers, politicians and other Government officials, including local authorities’ workers, now own their commuter omnibuses and mishikashika as personal businesses.
“This then compromises their interventions through repeated operations aimed at restoring order in the city centre,” he alleged.
He said a lasting solution requires the development of the Chitungwiza-Harare railway line and a mass tram bus system, coupled with a functional railway transport system linking suburbs and industrial areas.
“Additionally, our town planners and policymakers should emphasise modern self-contained suburbs with service centres to significantly cut on the need to drive into the CBD for basic services.”