Victor Maphosa,Herald Correspondent
POLICE in Harare arrested at least 803 forex dealers and 660 touts during the festive season, acting police spokesperson for Harare Province Assistant Inspector Webster Dzvova has said.
Launched in December last year, the operation was triggered by reports of abuse of women at places such as the former Ximex Mall area, commuter omnibus ranks at Roadport and Copacabana.
Asst Insp Dzvova said the operation targeting pirate taxis and illegal forex dealers, among other offenders, would continue until order was restored.
“From December 23, 2019 to January 5 this year, we have arrested 803 forex dealers, 660 touts and 590 illegal vendors in Harare’s Central Business District,” he said.
“The police have also arrested 950 mushikashika operators and these include kombis which were either loading and dropping off passengers at undesignated places or not following other road regulations. Most of them were fined for the offences.
Asst Insp Dzvova said the police clampdown in Harare would continue long after the festive season.
He urged citizens to use public transport, not to carry large sums of money and to always be alert.
“Police in Harare Province will continue with the operations in and around the city in full force and we want to forewarn would-be offenders that they will be arrested and prosecuted in terms of the law,” he said.
“We have noticed that robbers are now targeting money changers, residential areas and pirate taxis pick-up points. We advise the public not to walk alone during the night, not to carry large sums of cash and to avoid boarding unregistered vehicles.”
Motorists were finding it difficult to drive in the city centre as illegal foreign currency dealers conducted their illegal deals on roadsides and street corners from the comfort of their vehicles.
Forex traders also block pavements and pass disparaging remarks at women.
A snap survey by The Herald in the CBD yesterday revealed that most kombis were loading and offloading at designated places.
But the drivers often changed behaviour during peak hours, returning to lawlessness by picking up and dropping passengers anywhere.
Meanwhile, police have urged the public to desist from recording and posting videos and images of accidents and scenes of murder on social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp.
In a statement, deputy national police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Staff Officer Blessmore Chishaka said:
“The ZRP is concerned with some members of the public who record video footage or photograph scenes of road traffic accidents, scenes of murder or other heinous crimes and later post the footage on social media platforms,” he said.
“Images of dead bodies, wreckages and other sensitive scenes are then peddled on social media without regard to their negative effect. Some of the recordings are alarming and may cause despondency, while others are not suitable for people of a nervous disposition.”
Chief Supt Chishaka called on the public to be considerate and stop circulating such sensitive material on social media.
“We are making a passionate plea to the public to refrain from recording scenes of fatal road traffic accidents, dead bodies, suicide, drowning and gory scenes,” he said.
“Let us be considerate. Imagine receiving news on the passing on of a dear beloved one on social media.”
Chief Supt Chishaka said it was everyone’s duty to protect both accident victims and their next of kin.