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Harare City Council impounds 240 pirate taxis

By Helen Kadirire

Harare City Council (HCC) has begun impounding pirate taxis and commuter omnibuses that are operating with fake rank discs and so far 240 vehicles have been taken in.

Pirate taxis known as Mushikashika
File picture of pirate taxis known as Mushikashika

HCC spokesperson Michael Chideme said this is also part of the city’s clean-up against congestion in the Central Business District (CBD) and that the impounded vehicles will be taken to council’s Central Stores for safe-keeping.

According to council, fines for impounded vehicles are $12 per day.

The past weeks have seen HCC in collaboration with the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) conducting clean-up operations, hence removing vendors and kombis in the CBD as part of efforts to contain the cholera outbreak which resurfaced a month ago.

“The vehicles are being impounded and sent to Central Stores as a way of decongesting the city and ensuring that there is compliance and driving etiquette,” Chideme said.

He added that the exercise has been a lot easier due to the assistance of ZRP since council does not have arresting powers.

An audit into vehicle licensing revealed that of 782 commuter omnibuses, 14 percent (106) of them were operating with fake rank discs while eight percent (60) were operating without valid rank discs.

Council has been on a drive to amend the outdated 1977 Omnibus by-laws to suit current and global trends.

Among some of the changes will be the penalties to be faced by both the operators of the omnibus and the passengers.

“Again, the current by-laws prohibited picking up passengers at undesignated places by operators yet the same passengers standing at undesignated places go scot free.
The amendments sought to punish both the operator and the passenger(s).

“Touting for passengers and bringing in inflammable substances into an omnibus is now prohibited unless the inflammable substances are secure enough in a metal container,” council said in a statement. DailyNews