Liberty Dube Mutare Bureau
SCORES of commuters, among them schoolchildren, were yesterday left stranded after police impounded close to 60 kombis for a litany of offences.
These included unroadworthiness and failure by the owners to insure them. The kombis were driven to Mutare Main Camp.
Police will only release the vehicles upon payment of a fine. Commuters from Dangamvura, Chikanga and Hob House high-density suburbs were the worst affected.
The blitz made some schoolchildren sitting their mid-year examinations fail to make it to school on time. Pupils resorted to walking to school, while schools with buses dispatched them to the affected areas to pick up the stranded children.
Most children also delayed getting home after school as the situation had not improved by late last night.
Manicaland provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Tavhiringwa Kakohwa, said they would continue with the operation to bring to book kombi operators who were flouting traffic regulations.
He said it was mandatory for public transport operators to observe road rules and value the lives of passengers.
“Most of the kombis are operating without valid documents. We will continue with the blitz. We will continue impounding all vehicles that do not meet the passenger service vehicles requirements which include passenger and vehicle insurance.
“We do that everyday and there is nothing abnormal about the blitz. We have, however, realised that most operators have failed to comply and it is a cause of concern, especially for commuters whose lives will be at risk,” he said.
Most kombi operators have been found wanting on critical requirements such as the possession of a passengers’ insurance which ensures that a passenger is protected in case of an accident.
“That is why most kombi operators fail to cover a victim in case of an accident. We urged operators to have proper documents. They should adhere to requirements, rules and regulations,” he added.
Some operators are using vehicles with fake registration numbers, it emerged.
“We sometimes impound unroadworthy vehicles that have suspicious registration numbers. We normally realise that some of them will be non-existent after checking with the Central Vehicle Registration (CVR).
“In that case, we will ask the operator to bring the vehicle registration book for verification before we release the vehicle,” he added.
Insp Kakohwa said some of the kombi drivers were under age (below the age of 25) and do not have five years experience, which is required for one to drive a public service vehicle.