Nyemudzai Kakore Herald Correspondent
Chitungwiza Municipality has reduced the annual operating licence for kombi operators from $100 to $57,50 following skirmishes that rocked the town recently.
Commuter omnibus operators in Chitungwiza met council bosses last month seeking a reduction of the fee, which they claimed was too high.
The reduction, according to the minutes of the Finance Committee, came after realising that there were no previous consultations over the operating licenses as commuter operators were only advised.
“Having taken into cognisance the demonstration, a meeting with the commuter operators’ executive was called on the 11th of January in order to resolve the issue and map a way forward.
During the discussions, the commuter operators highlighted a number of charges which they pay to City of Harare, Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development and other payments towards running their businesses,” reads the minutes.
“They indicated that the $100 over and above the monthly rank disc of $17.50 was not sustainable and they suggested a $57, 50 charge. After deliberations, the two parties agreed that commuter operators pay $57,50 inclusive of VAT.”
According to the minutes, the Deputy Mayor, Godwell Mushangwe, wanted to know if council would reimburse those who had already paid $100 to which finance director Mrs Evangelista Machona, said their balances would be channelled towards rank discs.
During the skirmishes that erupted on January 5, commuter omnibus crews together with vendors protested the introduction of the fee, resulting in property worth thousands of dollars being destroyed.
The dormitory town was temporarily turned into a war zone and more than 40 people have since appeared in court at Chitungwiza Magistrates’ Court charged with public violence.
Chitungwiza Commuter Omnibus Operators’ Association spokesperson, Mr Farai Muza, said after reaching an agreement, they expected council to improve its services in terms of erecting toilets, shelters, benches as well as install lights at bus stops for the safety of customers.
“We met with council and agreed on the new operating license tariff after the municipality said the money will be used to improve service delivery such as repairing roads which are filled with potholes,” he said.