Pirate taxis cry foul over police treatment

Illegal taxi operators in Bulawayo have accused the police of fleecing them of their hard earned money by charging them exorbitant traffic fines.

The operators allege that when they are arrested for breaking traffic laws, they are taken to the police station where they are made to pay as much as $100 in fines.

Some of the operators who ply mostly routes in low-density suburbs say they have fallen prey to rogue traffic police officers who take advantage of their illegal status to fleece them.

According to the pirate taxi drivers, police disguise themselves as customers wanting to board and once they are inside the vehicle they produce their identification and order them to drive to the police station.

One of the pirate taxi drivers said this issue is affecting their day to day business.

Another pirate taxi driver said they are often intimidated and physically abused by some of the police officers.

A disgruntled driver said he was told to pay $100 fine for pirating but the ticket fine states he only paid $10.

Contacted for a comment Bulawayo police spokesperson Chief Inspector Precious Simango said the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) does not tolerate corruption.

“The organisation has a zero-tolerance policy towards corruption,” said Chief Insp.Simango.

“I appeal to those who alleged to have been overcharged to report their cases immediately.”

The Bulawayo City Council has also failed to deal with the pirate taxis that operate at illegal pick points.

In 2017, the local authority mooted the idea of licencing pirate taxi operators as a way of ensuring there is sanity in the city`s transport sector.

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