Govt engages transport stakeholders over touts

Source: The Herald – Breaking news.

Govt engages transport stakeholders over touts 
Deputy Minister Sacco

Ivan Zhakata-Herald Correspondent

The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development has met stakeholders in the public transport sector following the Mutare violence, where rival touts reportedly fought each over loading bays .

Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development Joshua Sacco yesterday met representatives from the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Vehicle Inspectorate Department (VID), public transport operators (buses and commuter omnibuses) and other stakeholders to discuss how they can work together in harmony.

The engagement came a week after the police fired shots and arrested a prominent Mutare-based bus operator along with 21 touts.

Deputy Minister Sacco said he was happy that the public transport operators came  had agreed to work together.

“We had a meeting with the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Vehicle Inspectorate Department (VID),Traffic Safety Council, bus and commuter omnibus operators and other transport stakeholders,” he said. 

“The main purpose of the meeting was to engage operators on the need for co-existence among themselves following the skirmishes that took place in Mutare a few weeks ago. 

“It was an initiative from the ministry to have public transport operators come together. As the responsible ministry we don’t condone violence. 

“We will not hesitate to punish anyone who breaks road safety rules willy nilly. We will not tolerate lawlessness in our roads. We also discussed issues around compliance and everyone was on the same page. There is no going back on issue of compliance. They agreed to work together which is a good development.”

Zimbabwe Passenger Transport organisation chairman Dr Samson Nhanhanga said the Government had warned them about the behaviour they have been exhibiting, thereby putting the lives of the public on the rope.

“The ministry called us for a meeting and warned us on the rogue behaviour that happened in Mutare. In front of the Deputy minister we managed to iron out our differences yesterday. 

“Going forward we hope to work together in harmony. Everyone was present at the meeting,’’ Dr Nhanhanga said.

The Government has been imploring bus operators to lead by example and contribute towards the maintenance of law and order in the country.

Meanwhile, reports from our sister paper, Manica Post suggest normalcy had returned in Mutare yesterday .

“Normalcy has returned to all bus ranks in Mutare following the arrest of 49 rank marshals and bus operators paving way for the riot police to take charge of the bays, resulting in long distance travellers regaining their right to travel with buses or private vehicles of their choice. 

The crackdown follows violent clashes between two rival machete-wielding tout gangs at Sakubva Bus Terminus last week, which left two people seriously injured and sparked chaotic scenes, in which innocent people in the Central Business District (CBD) were caught in the crossfire.

The scuffle was only quelled by armed police details who fired warning shots in the air, and the injured victims were rushed to hospital after sustaining severe wounds and facial lacerations.