The secretary-general of Greater Harare Commuter Omnibus Association (GHACO), Ngoni Katsvairo has said over 140 000 workers in the transport sector in the capital lost their jobs after the government banned commuter omnibuses (Kombi).
Kombis were banned as a way to curb the spread of the coronavirus that was taking its toll on the country. Katsvairo claims Kombis owned by powerful people are however still operating.
Katsvairo told the media recently that 49 000 kombis, each employing a driver, conductor and a tout, were banished by the government from operating in Harare. Katsvairo said:
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There were 50 000 kombis in Harare, about 49 000 have been parked for more than a year now. As a result, many livelihoods were affected.
Katsvairo added that GHACO members had lost US$12.8 million since the beginning of the national lockdown in March last year due to the banishment of their kombis by the government.
A majority of people in retirement had invested their savings in commuter omnibus transport businesses.
At present, if a kombi under Zupco cashes in $15 000 per day, they are paid $4 000 in addition to the fuel of $4 000. The remainder of $7 000 should be channelled towards the maintenance of the vehicles but it’s not happening.
Some are suffering silently because they cannot air out their voices and it is really sad.
The government should also realise that the absence of kombis has worsened the transport situation in Harare, operators affiliated with Zupco face challenges of delay in payment and in the end, they won’t be able to service their vehicles.