The Passengers Association of Zimbabwe (PAZ) says the Government should reverse its decision to monopolise public transport.
In 2020 the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works ordered all players in the public transport sector to join the Zimbabwe United Passengers Company (ZUPCO) franchise or take their vehicles off the road.
According to PAZ president Tafadzwa Goliati, the move created a transport crisis, resulting in the emergence of a thriving illegal taxi business (mushikashika). Said Goliati:
The economy is opening up and transport is an integral part of the economy. There is a need for adequate transport for everyone.
Schools and other sectors of the economy have reopened and some buses which are under ZUPCO have returned to rural areas or highway routes, so there is a need to increase transport operators.
Monopoly in a country like Zimbabwe will only create illegal taxis, and there is a need for the government to rectify the issue.
A Harare commuter, Enock Hore, accused the Government of making their lives difficult by creating a monopoly in the transport sector. He said:
Government should be blamed for creating chaos in the transport sector.
ZUPCO buses are not reliable and most of the buses plying urban routes are not in good condition.
Instead of protecting its citizens, our government has a penchant for making our lives more difficult.
In his pre-recorded Workers’ Day speech, President Emmerson Mnangagwa accused illegal transport operators of “stealing” from workers. He said:
The second republic is determined to retain the purchasing power of workers, through viable public transport systems.
Government will not stand by and watch while the hard-earned incomes of our workers are being stolen by mushikashika and makoronyera. No!
You, as our workers, deserve an efficient and affordable transport system so that production time, as well as your family time, is not lost in transport queues.
During peak hours, workers must be transported with the greatest ease.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) recently launched an operation targetting mushikashika and illegal hawkers.
Police arrested at least 70 drivers of pirate taxis and their unregistered vehicles were impounded on Sunday.
The operation has worsened the transport challenges being faced by commuters in urban areas, especially in Harare and Bulawayo.