July Moyo, the Local Government and Public Works Minister, has urged police to enlist the services of the army in operations meant to clamp down on the activities of unregistered private transport operators (Mushikashika).
In March last year, the government banned all independent public transport operators, with only the state-controlled Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) allowed to carry commuters and members of the public.
However, ZUPCO buses are woefully inadequate and unreliable thus living a huge gap that has been filled by the unregistered transporters.
Addressing a meeting of various sub-committees of the Bulawayo Provincial COVID-19 task force, which he chairs, on Tuesday, Moyo said:
I would like to talk to you (police) before I leave because this is very important. If we don’t enforce, people will relax, maybe there are difficulties but it is better to know if there are difficulties but that does not mean we allow non-public transport to take place.
We operate under pieces of legislation, so if enforcement requires you to command the municipal police, please do so. If the law, as it does, allows you to say if you are overwhelmed, please bring the army, please do it.
Moyo said the banning of private sector players in the transport sector helped the country contain the spread of the coronavirus.
He urged police to “become ruthless” if private transport operators continue to defy the coronavirus restrictions.