BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
BULAWAYO civic society organisations (CSOs) meet today to deliberate on the steps to be taken regarding government’s insistence on a Zupco monopoly despite widespread condemnation of the policy.
Local Government minister July Moyo has insisted that private commuter omnibus can only operate under the Zupco franchise.
Zupco has been failing to cope with demand, leaving commuters, including schoolchildren who rely on shuttle services provided by private commuter omnibuses stranded.
Zupco does not provide shuttle services.
CSOs said today’s virtual summit was meant to force government to come up with a favourable public transport policy.
“There has been a lot of debate about the Zupco monopoly that all private bus owners must register with Zupco for them to operate,” said Michael Ndiweni, one of the organisers of the summit and co-ordinator of the Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA).
“There is a lot of debate on this issue.
“There are people who are supporting the idea; some are saying no, it will kill the private sector.”
The summit is being held virtually owing to COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings.
“As CSOs in Bulawayo, we have said let us create a platform for this debate and see whether the Zupco monopoly is an ideal or is an ordeal for our public transport operators.
“That is the major objective and people will shape the direction of their next course of what they are going to do. That is why we have said; let us create a platform so that there is a collective voice in terms of what could be done in terms of agreeing whether it is an ideal or an ordeal for operators in the city.”
The Local Government minister recently urged police and other security organs to be “ruthless” with private commuter omnibus crews while also threatening to enlist the services of the army to enforce the Zupco monopoly.
In its heyday, Zupco used to operate a reliable shuttle service, but corruption and mismanagement brought it to its knees, paving way for private commuter omnibuses to step in and save the situation.