By Peter Matambanadzo
About 220 000, out of an estimated 800 000 vehicles, were registered with the Zimbabwe National Road Administration’s new computerised licence disc system by May 31, raising fears that the remaining 26 days may be too short to complete the process.
Queues that marked the last few days to May 31, the original deadline, have disappeared following the extension of the deadline by a month. The national road authority said it will not grant any grace period and motorists who fail to meet the new deadline will be penalised.
They will pay an all-inclusive penalty of US$45 in addition to the US$20 charged for vehicle licensing. The penalty comprises US$20 fine, US$20 arrears fee and US$5 administration fee. Zinara started issuing new licence discs two weeks ago, but failed to register all vehicles within the initial period.
Zinara head of corporate communications Mr Augustine Moyo at the weekend decried the low turnout by motorists following the extension of the deadline. The registration offices are empty again and long queues are anticipated towards the end of the month when people start receiving their salaries.
“These (the 220 000 vehicles) were licensed by close of business on Thursday last week, but more could have been licensed, but we were experiencing challenges of power cuts at some of our centres,” Mr Moyo said.
He said Zinara has since acquired generators that have been deployed to some of its 50 centres dotted around the country. When The Herald visited Zinara headquarters at Glenroy Shopping Centre in Highlands last Friday, there were a handful of motorists while clerks were dealing with bulk applications.
Companies and individuals with more than 10 cars can simply submit their papers and have their licence discs processed in their absence. “Our staff is working flat out to license vehicles. Here and at head office we will be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 8am to 2pm,” he said.
Zinara introduced the new licence disc with high security features to curb counterfeiting. Zinara was losing over US$20 million in potential revenue yearly to motorists who do not renew their vehicle licences. The new system also aims to capture the actual number of cars on Zimbabwe’s roads.
Zinara said it was collecting US$5 million every year from about 300 000 vehicles instead of US$40 million from about 800 000 vehicles registered with the Central Vehicle Registry.
Road licence fees are used together with tollgate fees, overload fees and transit fees to maintain highways and construct new roads.