The president of the opposition Labour, Economists Afrikan Democrats (LEAD) party, Linda Masarira, has written an open letter to President Emmerson Mnangagwa urging his government to fix the transport challenges. Commuters have since 2020, when private-owned commuter omnibuses (kombis) were banned from the roads, been spending hours in queues waiting for their turn to be ferried to work or home. The situation seems to have gotten worse in recent weeks amid reports that some owners of the ZUPCO-contracted kombis were withdrawing their vehicles due to delays in payment f what’s due to them. Parliament has since Local government minister July Moyo to give a ministerial statement on the state of the public transport system in the country. In her letter to the President, Masarira suggests that ZUPCO efforts to ease the situation were ineffective. She wrote:
The clampdown on private transport operators in Harare has worsened the transport crisis in the Capital City. While government has procured buses to ease the transport woes, the situation has remained the same.
In my opinion there seems to be unstrategic deployment of ZUPCO buses to the areas which necessarily don’t need them, which can be serviced by private transport operators. In the meantime, as we aspire to fix the transport challenges, it is imperative that most buses be deployed in the Capital City.
Secondly, private transport operators contracted to ZUPCO should be paid their money on time. Delays in payment will lead to frustrations resulting in withdrawal of their services. They become the very people who are subjected to the unsustainable clampdown.
In the spirit of leaving noone behind, we implore the government to ensure that private players with buses at Zupco are paid on time. There is really no wisdom in denying the commuting public fast and efficient transport service.
Information Secretary, Nick Mangwana says “the government is aware of and regrets the current transport difficulties being experienced by Harare commuters and would like to assure them and the Nation that plans are underway to bring relief. Short and long-term efficient Urban Mass Transportation System solutions will be implemented.”
President Mnangagwa recently directed the Transport ministry and ZUPCO to address the transport issue.