Crime Reporter

A total of 11 917 pirate taxis and unregistered vehicles have been impounded countrywide as the Zimbabwe Republic Police and other law enforcement agents yesterday started targeting vehicles without registration number plates or displaying expired temporary plates.

Police have been impounding vehicles used for illegal public transport operations and yesterday’s blitz was an addition to this operation.

According to the Vehicle Registration and Licensing Act, vehicles should be registered and always display their registration marks and numbers.

Police said such vehicles should not be driven on the roads and motorists risk having their cars impounded and only to be released once they have been registered at the Central Vehicle Registry, a process that now costs US$80.

Police are also targeting those who are flouting traffic regulations and endangering the lives of other road users.

The crackdown on unregistered vehicles comes in the wake of a spate of armed robberies countrywide as criminals are using such vehicles to try and evade arrest since the unmarked vehicles cannot be easily identified.

Others are suspected to have been involved in hit-and-run accidents.

Police said they would release the vehicles impounded for lack of registration plates once the owners have registered them.

On pirate taxis, police are also conducting an operation targeting motor vehicle owners who are operating public transport without exemption.

National police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi assured the public that the Central Vehicle Registry now has adequate permanent registration number plates so that the previous exemption allowing vehicles to use expired temporary plates no longer applied.

“We would want to reiterate that any vehicle seen on the road without displaying number plates will be impounded by police at roadblocks and check points.

He said the motoring public was ignoring the law or was being reluctant to register their vehicles.

In February last year, Government said importers of vehicles who had been unable to register them owing to a shortage of number plates should obtain temporary identification cards for indefinite use as it organised new supplies of plates.

Temporary registration number plates normally have a 14-day lifespan, just enough time to get the vehicle home and organise the permanent registration.