HARARE – The Central Vehicle Registry (CVR) has allowed second-hand vehicles changing ownership to remain with the same number plates amid a critical plates shortage. Previously, when a vehicle was changing ownership, number plates were supposed to be changed.
Under new guidelines announced by the CVR, vehicles changing ownership will maintain the same plates starting February 26.
“What only changes is the new registered book with details of the new owner,” the CVR said.
“This functionality has been enabled in the system. The motorist pays $15 and gets a registration book only with the new owner details. The number plates and third plates remain the same and no plates will be surrendered. “New number plates will be issued as usual when government or a local authority vehicle is changing ownership, plates must be surrendered as usual. They pay $80 or $70 if trailer/motor cycle, the policy did not change for these vehicles,” the statement read.
CVR clarified that the new policy, however, does not apply when replacing damaged, lost or defaced number plates and where a public service vehicle is changing ownership and category to private or vice versa. This comes after Transport and Infrastructure Development minister Joel Biggie Matiza recently extended the lifespan of temporary plates from two weeks to an indefinite period following a critical plates shortage.
The skint government has struggled to import plates from Germany due to a dollar crunch, despite an order for 400 000 being placed.
“Contrary to the current shortage of number plates, the validity period of temporary identification cards has with immediate effect and in consultation with the commissioner-general of the Zimbabwe Republic Police been relaxed to run an indefinite period from the date of issue until further notice,” Matiza said.
While Matiza attributed the shortage to the scarce foreign currency, Amos Marawa, the permanent secretary in the ministry told the Daily News that the problem was due to a delayed shipment that was expected to arrive mid-December last year.
“We were expecting to receive them in mid-December but our suppliers closed for the festive season and we are awaiting confirmation on when to expect the delivery,” Marawa said.
While the consumption rate yearly ranges from 120 000 to 150 000 plates, the ministry usually makes a huge order as costs for big orders are much cheaper.
Last year, the ministry also encountered similar challenges although the delay was due to then high sea levels in the Indian Ocean, leading to the hold-up in the shipment’s arrival in the country.