BY PROBLEM MASAU
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has buckled under pressure and has revoked the ban on private public transporters.
This comes after his decision to have Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) as the sole public transporter badly backfired.
Zupco has been enjoying monopoly in the transport sector since 2020 after the government gazetted Statutory Instrument 83 of 2020 putting a blanket ban on commuter omnibuses on the pretext of enhancing Corona virus lockdown measures.
In a hastily prepared speech to counter today’s purported , Mnangagwa said the government would introduce a law allowing private operators to operate and import public transport vehicles duty free.
“Government is proceeding to open up the public transport system for other players in order to complement the services being provided by Zupco, in line with the reduction in COVID-19 cases and the subsequent opening up of the economy,” Mnangagwa said.
“To complement the above measures, the government will allow for the duty-free importation for a period of 12 months for vehicles which meet regulations to be issued. The liberalisation of the public transport system shall be done under terms and conditions to be published by the government,” he added.
Zimbabwe Passenger Association president Tafadzwa Goliati welcomed the move saying the Zupco monopoly was inconveniencing the commuting public.
“The move was long overdue. We thank the President for finally seeing the light. Passengers were waiting for more than two hours in the queue and productive hours were being lost. The economy has since opened up and transport is an integral part of the economy. There is a need for adequate transport for everyone,” Goliati said.
Describing the Zupco monopoly as unsustainable the Zimbabwe Union of Drivers and Conductors president Frederick Maguramhinga said: “Zupco has no capacity to service all routes that is why the transport crisis has reached a tipping point. With the opening up of its monopoly; transport challenges will be a thing of the past.”