By Mashudu Netsianda
Vehicles without number plates will not be allowed to pass through police roadblocks and security checkpoints, with owners risking being prosecuted and their cars impounded.
Last week, police impounded more than 10 000 vehicles countrywide and fined motorists for carrying passengers in violation of national lockdown measures during an ongoing blitz targeting people who disregard the Covid-19 regulations.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi warned motorists driving cars without number plates, saying they have since directed all police commanders in all provinces to impound cars without number plates.
Unregistered vehicles are being impounded as police suspect they could be behind a spate of criminal activities that have been reported in the last few months. According to authorities, thousands of motorists who paid for number plates before 2019 have not bothered to collect them.
Permanent plates cost US$80.
Asst Comm Nyathi said through the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, they have since established that there are enough stocks of number plates at the Central Vehicle Registry.
“Police will impound all vehicles moving on the road without number plates.
“There is no justification for any motorist to drive vehicles without number plates yet there are adequate stocks at the Central Vehicle Registry,” he said.
“In fact, the Secretary for Transport and Infrastructural Development has formally advised police that they have enough stocks.
“Motorists are urged to cooperate and if there are any challenges, they should approach relevant authorities. Police commanders have been directed to ensure that only vehicles with number plates are allowed passage at roadblocks, checkpoints and other security points.”
Asst Comm Nyathi said unregistered cars were posing a security risk on the road as most of them are used by criminals as getaway cars.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development Engineer Amos Marawa said it was illegal for motorists to drive unregistered cars, saying they have since roped in police.
“It is an offence to drive a car without number plates. In fact, we have challenges in terms of procuring consumables for number plates, but it is now a thing of the past as we now have enough in stock at the CVR. We are also not allowing such cars to pass at our tollgates,” he said.
Prior to the latest development, importers of vehicles who have been unable to register them owing to a shortage of number plates have been using Temporary Identification Cards (TICs) as Government worked on addressing the matter. TICs normally have a 14-day lifespan.
Some vehicles were on the roads without registration number plates and owners blamed it on shortage of number plates at the Central Vehicle Registry.
In terms of the law, only registered car dealers are allowed to keep unregistered vehicles as stock in bond houses for resale to their customers.
The Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) and police recently launched a national blitz targeting unlicensed vehicles as it emerged that over 4 000 unregistered vehicles pass through the country’s tollgates daily. The blitz sought to ensure that motorists complied with the law. The Chronicle