BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
BULAWAYO municipal police are reportedly making a killing from commuter omnibus operators who pick and drop passengers at undesignated points.
The picking and dropping of passengers at undesignated points is an offence under council’s by-laws.
In the past, municipal police would clamp and tow away vehicles operating from these areas, with offenders paying fines.
However, of late, it is now free for all with even unregistered kombis allegedly operating freely after paying $5 to corrupt municipal police.
“The municipal police are now like our new rank marshals, where for one to be allowed to load passengers, they must have paid a fee of $5 to them,” Nkosi Ndlovu, a kombi driver, said.
A number of undesignated pick-up and drop-off points mushroomed in the central business district (CBD) after the closure of the Basch Street terminus, popularly known as Egodini.
South African civil engineering firm, Terracorta, was awarded a tender to develop Egodini into a state-of-the-art regional transport hub and mall at a cost of $60 million.
“I used to rank at Egodini, but after its closure, I now look for passengers outside Tredgold Building, but after paying the $5 to the municipal police,” one of the kombi drivers, Richard Moyo, said.
Bulawayo City Council director of security and enforcement, Sikhangele Zhou, recently said council was not aware of the shenanigans by municipal police and urged people to report to council.
“If any allegations are brought forward, they will be investigated and anyone found to be taking bribes will be brought to book,” she said.
However, this is all happening despite the council having a public transport policy that regulates the services of commuter transport operators in the city.
Under the policy, only vehicles registered under a company are allowed to provide public transport in the city to guarantee a controlled and organised transport system that ensures the safety of residents.
It was unveiled in 2011.
The public transport policy (PTP) calls for among others, having timetables and properly designated pick up and drop off points to ensure an efficient and reliable public transport system.
Currently, three commuter omnibus companies Tshova Mubaiwa Cooperative, Bulawayo City Transport Trust and Bulawayo United Pubic Transport Association are registered under BCC’s PTP.