BY NQOBANI NDLOVU/REJOICE NCUBE
GOVERNMENT should admit that its mass public transporter, Zupco, is failing to cope with demand, a consumer watchdog and commuters said in response to the transport shortages bedevilling Bulawayo.
Commuters have been battling transport challenges since last week after Local Government minister July Moyo urged police and other security organs to be “ruthless” with private commuter omnibuses.
“We operate under pieces of legislation, so if enforcement requires you (police) to command the municipal police, please do so. If the law, as it does, allows you to say if you are overwhelmed, please bring the army, please do it,” Moyo told a Bulawayo provincial COVID-19 taskforce meeting.
This has seen police smashing kombi windows and engaging in high-speed chases with private commuter omnibuses even in the central business district.
Moyo even threatened to “bring the army” to ensure only Zupco-registered commuter operators provide transport services despite evidence that the latter is failing to cope with demand.
“The government must accept the fact that it does not have the capacity to provide for the comprehensive transport needs of commuters. It must bring on board the private sector and only ensure that they abide by the COVID-19 control regulations,” National Consumer Rights Association co-ordinator Effie Ncube said.
“Commuters are consumers of transport services and they must be treated with dignity. It is important that whenever they need transport it must be there, so the State must not create a gridlock where it is impossible to get
Commuter omnibus owners under the Tshova Mubaiwa Transport Co-operative Company approached the High Court in July 2020 challenging the Zupco monopoly.
Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association director Michael Ndiweni added: “There has been a serious challenge with transport for traders.”
Bulawayo resident Panashe Ndlovu said she feared being mugged after getting home late.
“We are being exposed not only to muggings, but even rape,” she said.