MASVINGO and Zvishavane Vehicle Inspectorate Department (VID) depot officials are playing the blame game after details emerged that the Toyota Wish which collided with a Toyota Granvia in the Mhandamabwe area on July 5 this year, killing 20 people on the spot, had been impounded twice prior to the accident and mysteriously released.
The death toll later rose to 22.
The Toyota Wish, which was carrying 10 people, had reportedly been booked twice by VID, but mysteriously found itself on the road.
Transport and Infrastructural Development minister Felix Mhona confirmed the development when he toured the accident scene on July 9.
“As you have heard from the VID officials, the Toyota Wish was not supposed to be on the road as they are in possession of papers that prove that it was supposed to be in their custody as they had impounded it,” he said.
“We want to know how the car found its way on the road as it was supposed to be at the respective VID depot.”
Contacted for comment, VID national director Johannes Pedzapasi referred TellZim to VID Masvingo depot manager Paulos Banda for finer details.
Banda, however, said they were not the ones who had impounded the vehicle, directing all questions to VID Zvishavane depot.
“We received the report from the Zvishavane depot, so you can contact Zvishavane depot manager. He is the one who can comment,” Banda said.
Zvishavane depot manager Godfrey Mashoko in turn denied ever booking the vehicle and said Masvingo depot was answerable for the case.
“That car falls under the jurisdiction of Masvingo, I just accompanied them to the accident scene. They are responsible and they are the ones who took the car. If they keep on denying it, tell us, then we tell the directors,” Mashoko said.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi last week said they were not going to leave any stone unturned in a bid to expose how the two vehicles got past checkpoints when they were overloaded.
However, Nyathi said he could not give a timeframe for the investigation, which he said was still in progress.
“The investigation is still ongoing. We can’t give you the exact dates of conclusion, but when we are done with investigation, we will let you know,” he said.
Drivers of pirate Toyota Wish vehicles usually travel at high speed to meet their daily monetary targets.
Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe director Clifford Gobo expressed disappointment at the conduct of road users and called for compliance with the law by all citizens so as to reduce accidents.
“Only roadworthy vehicles must be on the roads and the passengers themselves must refuse to be overloaded because they also have a responsibility to protect themselves.
“The transporters should be good citizens who follow the rules. If your vehicle is deemed not roadworthy by VID then we mustn’t see it on the road,” said Gobo.
Earlier this year, three VID officials were arrested in Karoi for allegedly issuing 26 provisional licences to prospective drivers who had allegedly failed the mandatory written examination.
The rot has allegedly spread to the unwarranted release of vehicles at various VID depots and police stations across the country.