Mashonaland East Bureau
Police have launched investigations into the circumstances that saw a Sables bus passing through all police checkpoints from Beitbridge to Marondera before it was impounded.
The concern is that cross border buses usually travel at night and Zimbabwe has a curfew starting from 6.30pm ending at 6am the following day.
If the bus travelled during the day, then it naturally contravened the ban on intercity movements, which all police officers manning the checkpoints from Beitbridge would be naturally aware of.
The law enforcement agents also are investigating how the owner of the bus allowed his crew to operate while disregarding Government directive on lockdown measures.
Under the new regulations aimed at combating the spread of the pandemic, intercity operations are prohibited.
On Monday this week, police in Marondera impounded a Sables bus while it was offloading goods and some passengers reportedly from South Africa.
After the bus was impounded, all the 38 passengers and the bus crew were taken for Covid-19 testing and three of the passengers were positive.
Critically, all passengers had travelled all the way from South Africa without Covid-19 certificates, as required by law.
Zimbabwe demands that all visitors from other countries should have Covid-19 free certificates that would have been processed within 48 hours.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said they believe all the passengers are illegal cross borders who were coming from South Africa.
“We are tracking the owners of the bus, at the same time, we are taking into account all the roadblocks this bus had passed through.
“It is clear that these buses ferry smugglers and border jumpers. It is now surfacing that the passengers are illegal cross borders. Definitely we will take action,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
The bus company is now facing criminal charges while the passengers have been taken to Mahusekwa Hospital for isolation.
Most recently, 49 returnees from South Africa were put into quarantine in Beitbridge following the interception of one of the passengers who had come from India and was travelling with a fake Covid-19 clearance certificate.
Cross border buses still ply the Zimbabwe-South Africa route and The Herald understands that bus crews are making passengers pay up to R2 000 upfront that would be used to pay police officers should the need arise.