Motorists flooded the police’s Vehicle Theft Squad in Harare yesterday as they sought to get the needed clearance that will allow them to obtain registration number plates, on a day when 420 cars were impounded countrywide.
Police have demanded that all vehicles on the roads should have number plates since they are now readily available, and police teams have been heavily deployed on the roads targeting unregistered vehicles.
The Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) has joined the drive to eliminate vehicles without registration numbers through denying such vehicles passage at tollgates.
On Thursday, Zinara public relations manager Mr Tendai Mugabe advised the public to register their vehicles or otherwise they will not be allowed to pass through tollgates.
The crackdown on unregistered vehicles comes in the wake of a spate of armed robberies countrywide, with some criminals using unmarked vehicles to evade police.
Following the blitz, police indicated yesterday that they were now overwhelmed by motorists as they have capacity to clear 0nly 160 vehicles a day.
Over 12 000 pirate taxis and unregistered vehicles have been impounded.
The Vehicle Registration and Licensing Act demands that vehicles be registered and always display the registration marks and numbers.
Temporary registration number plates normally have a 14-day lifespan, which is enough to get the vehicle home and secure permanent registration.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi has urged motorists to cooperate with the police.
Police commanders in all provinces were recently directed to ensure that only vehicles with number plates were allowed to pass through roadblocks and security check points.
At Southerton Police Station police were manning roadblocks and impounding such vehicles.
Most of the impounded vehicles were unregistered small cars such as the Honda Fit and police said they will only release the cars once the owners produce receipts from the Central Vehicle Registry proving that they have paid for number plates and were waiting to collect them.
Some of the vehicles were parked at the Southerton Police Station Traffic Section, while others were at the district headquarters where the Vehicle Theft Squad is also based.
The squad is a specialised section that deals with cases of theft and robbery of motor vehicles. It is also responsible for clearing of motor vehicles for registration, permission to drive outside Zimbabwe temporarily and clearance for change of ownership.
Yesterday, there was a winding queue of motorists seeking to have their vehicles cleared, ahead of registration with the Central Vehicle Registry.
At the registry in the city centre, there was another long queue of people buying registration number plates which police said are being sold for US$80.
Some motorists yesterday complained that they were being turned away by CVR officials who told them that they did not have number plates in stock, although the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development insists they have enough in stock. Some were claiming there were officials demanding kick-backs ranging between US$20 and US$100, for a motorist to get registration number plates.
Police in Mutare have been impounding all unregistered vehicles since Thursday.
At the roadblock located near Mutare Teachers’ College, numerous vehicles without registration number plates had been impounded by the end of yesterday.
Motorists who spoke to The Herald said they had not been given enough time to visit the CVR offices to register their vehicles before the order to impound was given.
“We are appealing to the Government to give us more time to register our vehicles. As it is, I have been working out of town and only managed to travel today so I obviously have not had time to do it,” said one motorist, who declined to give his name.
The requirements for vehicle registration are an application form (CVR4), Customs Clearance Certificate issued by Zimra, police clearance, copy of insurance policy document, photocopy of acceptable own personal identification in the form of Zimbabwe national identity card or a valid Zimbabwe driver’s licence or a Zimbabwean passport, proof of residence in the form of rates or utility bill or bank statement, and proof of payment of import duty.