Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter—
Government should commercialise the Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) and enable it to inspect private vehicles as part of efforts to curb road carnage emanating from the prevalence of illegal taxi operators commonly known as mushikashika, legislators have said. Members of Parliament said private vehicles should be levied a fixed annual fee by VID so that it could inspect them for fitness so as to minimise accidents as some of them were caused by illegal operators.
Some of the vehicles, the MPs said, were not roadworthy.
This came out when members of the portfolio committee on Transport and Infrastructure Development chaired by Chegutu West MP Cde Dexter Nduna (Zanu-PF) conducted a familiarisation field visit of Simon Vengai Muzenda Street in Harare yesterday to make an assessment of illegal taxi operators commonly known as mushikashika.
“What is needed as a first step, is to commercialise VID. Once that is done, there should be a law that compels VID to inspect vehicles with black and yellow number plates (private vehicles.) It is a common secret that some private vehicles carry passengers, then of course, there are those that do mushikashika. If they are not inspected, they pose a danger to unsuspecting and innocent people,” said Cde Nduna.
He said at the moment, inspection of vehicles by VID is mainly done on public service vehicles yet private vehicles also carried passengers and contributed to road carnage in the country.
Cde Nduna said from their interaction with illegal operators yesterday, they were agreeable to subject themselves to VID inspection and what remained was the necessary framework.
“We will prepare a report as a committee and table it before Parliament for debate. We also expect the responsible ministry to respond to these issues because we want road carnages to be minimised,” said Cde Nduna.
He said there was need to address duplication of some roles between VID and the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration. “There are some fees that are collected by VID, like overloading, fitness and it is done on behalf of Zinara. For all the funds that are handled, there is an expense,” he said.
Chikanga-Dangamvura MP Cde Esau Mupfumi (Zanu-PF) said local authorities had a lot of work to do to de-congest the city. “Harare City Council should renovate Mbare Musika as part of efforts to decongest the city. Most public service vehicles are now using illegal pick-up points because Mbare Musika can no longer contain the huge influx of vehicles,” said Cde Mupfumi.
Highfield East MP Mr Eric Murai (MDC-T) said there was need to bring together all Government departments dealing with transport management under one roof so that they could brainstorm some of the challenges.
“There is need to bring to an end the illegal taxi operators. This calls for the need to bring all Government departments together to discuss these issues. Some of the Government departments include, the police, VID, Zinara, local authority, Central Vehicle Registry, Road Motor Transport among others,” said Mr Murai.