Government will soon be rolling out its own commuter omnibuses (kombis) that would transport passengers at a cheaper price, Vice President Kembo Mohadi has confirmed.
The commuter omnibuses will be modeled along the lines of ZUPCO buses and would charge less than the regular ones.
Currently, a single fare to the city centre ranges between ZW$4 to ZW$5, depending on the locality one comes from while the oversubscribed ZUPCO buses charge ZW$1 for a trip.
The vice president issued a warning to commuter omnibuses that they would soon be out of business, once the government introduces cheaper alternatives.
“I say to them just like what was told to Caesar – beware the Ides of March. Caesar was warned that there were people who were after him and would kill him but he didn’t listen. I also say beware to them kombis, they will not have businesses to run,” he said while addressing a poorly attended rally at Stanley Square Sunday.
The VP added that the government would also construct a transport station to accommodate both buses and commuter omnibuses, where these will be regulated to move at set times.
Mohadi said the cheaper commuter omnibuses would be available in Bulawayo from next week.
“Either next week or the other week, we will bring our own cheaper kombis. We have always cautioned operators, tamba wakachenjera,we are watching you,” he said.
To address the congestion experienced in the ZUPCO buses, the vice president said more buses would be added to the fleet.
“Some of the buses are already at the assembly lines. Others are coming from South Africa,” he stated.
He also took a swipe at businesses for overcharging goods and services, accusing them of sabotaging the government’s efforts to stabilise the economy.
“Goods are expensive, it is tough. Who is doing this? It is businesspeople. Most of them are not members of Zanu PF. Others are doing this to destroy the rule of Zanu PF but it is not going to happen,” the VP said.
In order to cushion people, Mohadi said the government would also avail silo shops that would sell basic commodities at cheaper prices.
“Last time when we effected price controls, things didn’t go well. We also received unnecessary criticism from the West so we decided to come up with our means to empower people.
“We have given maize and money to the Grain Marketing Board and through the silo industries, they will sell products to you at a cheaper price. So far there are 84 shops across the country and I will tell Dr Sithembiso Nyoni, responsible for economic livelihood in the politburo to bring silo shops here in Bulawayo,” he noted.
The VP accused businesses of serving external interests rather than catering for the country.
“What they are doing is bad? They have no care for people, how must people survive under such? They are used by other elements outside the country,” he said.