No, it’s not true that the government never banned private kombi operators

At a time when the country is battling a crippling transport crisis as a result of the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO)’s inefficiencies, the government has claimed it never banned operations of private kombi operators.

Speaking during a post-cabinet press briefing in Harare last Wednesday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Monica Mutsvangwa, said the government had not barred private transport operators.

“Cabinet wishes to clarify that Government has not banned the operations of private contractors in the public transport sector,” said Mutsvangwa.

See below part of her speech:

Announcing Zimbabwe’s first-ever Covid-19-induced lockdown measures on March 27 2020 in Harare, President Emmerson Mnangagwa suspended all public transport operations, adding only ZUPCO and the Public Service Commission (PSC) buses would be allowed to transport people during the lockdown period.

“Only ZUPCO and Public Service Commission will be exempt from this directive,” said President Mnangagwa.

“Even then all ZUPCO buses are required to observe and enforce social distance and disinfection guidelines in the course of offering their services.”

Since then private kombi operators have not been allowed to resume their operation despite the Covid-19 situation having significantly improved.

The government later on through the Ministry of Local Government later made it mandatory for private transport operators who wanted to return to the road to register under the ZUPCO franchise even against their wishes.

The issue was unsuccessfully challenged at the High Court.

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