The Minister of Local Government and Public Works, July Moyo, would be asked to give a ministerial statement to Parliament soon, to be followed by a debate on the state of public transport in the country, the Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda has said.
This comes after members of parliament expressed concern over the country’s failing public transport system.
State-owned transport company ZUPCO has enjoyed a public transport monopoly since the outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020 after the government banned privately-owned minibuses (kombis).
However, ZUPCO “has demonstrated incapacity to be able to carry every passenger,” according to Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya (CCC), who was speaking in the National Assembly on Tuesday, 3 May.
Chikwinya urged the government to re-open public transport provision to private players. He said:
As it is, due to a lack of reliable public transport, people are getting home at around 11 PM. People are delaying coming to work up to around 9 AM or 10 AM.
It is causing loss of production time and loss of quality time within people’s homes.
In 2020, the Government directed owners of minibuses (kombis) to join the ZUPCO pool but many refused, and some of those who had joined later withdrew from the ZUPCO franchise due to delays in payments which are made in discredited Zimbabwe dollars.
In his pre-recorded Workers Day message, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the Government will not allow pirate taxis (mushikashika) to take over public transport in the country. He said:
My government is determined to retain the purchasing power of workers, through a viable public transport system.
The government will not stand by and watch while the hard-earned incomes of our workers are stolen by ‘mushika-shikas’ 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.
I, therefore, direct authorities at ZUPCO and the responsible ministry to heed this call and bring back order in the sector.