OVER 10 000 motorists are arrested weekly around the country for driving unlicensed and unregistered vehicles under an ongoing operation that has nabbed 21 886 since it started on January 15.
On Saturday, a total of 1 158 arrests were made countrywide, with 498 vehicles being impounded, while 677 motorists were fined. Six motorists were issued with notices to appear in court.
National police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, yesterday said since the operation started, the highest number of motorists arrested were 1 915 nabbed on January 18.
“People aren’t registering vehicles even now when the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development has assured motorists and Zimbabweans that we have adequate stocks of number plates in the country. We still have some motorists driving around with plateless vehicles and no temporary number plates. You tend to wonder the motive behind such conduct,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
He said the operation will continue and has no specific time frame.
“We will ensure that all vehicles moving around the roads are displaying number plates. The current arrangements by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development are such that there is no reason whatsoever for anyone to try and justify the driving of a vehicle which has no number plates,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
When the operation was rolled out, motorists swarmed the Central Vehicle Registry (CVR) in Harare to register their cars and get number plates. Some even complained that there was a shortage, prompting Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development Felix Mhona to visit the CVR offices two weeks ago.
Some motorists alleged that they had been visiting the CVR offices since last year after applying for number plates and were always given excuses by officials.
Minister Mhona, however, ordered the officials to ensure that all those that had submitted applications for number plates get them by this week. As part of Government interventions, permanent number plates are now available at Zimra border posts, so anyone importing a vehicle now buys the permanent plates as they clear their car through customs, meaning temporary plates will no longer be issued.
Since every vehicle now keeps the same plates for its Zimbabwean life regardless of how many times it is bought and sold, this means even commercial importers and clearing agents can buy the permanent plates at the same time that they pay import duty and subsequent owners simply have to pay the transfer taxes and register the ownership change.
All border posts, except Plumtree, are stocked with enough permanent number plates as Government introduces a cocktail of measures to curb crime and make it as easy as possible for vehicle owners to pay taxes and duties and register their vehicle with minimum of return visits.
Police said some motorists are using fake temporary vehicle number plates to avoid being arrested.
Unregistered vehicles and those without number plates are also being used as getaway cars in the commission of dangerous crimes, including armed robberies, murder, rape and kidnapping.
In 2020, it was reported that the country had a number plate backlog, which saw motorists driving vehicles without plates.