Freeman Razemba Crime Reporter—
GOVERNMENT has reduced the number of police roadblocks following intense pressure from motorists and the public. Over 50 percent of tourists interviewed during a recent Zimbabwe National Statistical Agency (Zimstat) survey said they felt harassed by heavy police presence on roads.
Delegates attending last year’s Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) congress rapped police for mounting a chain of roadblocks, saying this affected the ease of doing business.
Addressing a Press conference in Harare yesterday, Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo said: “Let me assure you that my ministry is working on a number of initiatives to find lasting solutions to this problem.
“May I also appeal to the nation to bear in mind that roadblocks are an important tool for the Zimbabwe Republic Police to maintain law and order.
“As the Ministry of Home Affairs, through the Zimbabwe Republic Police command structure, we are working on rationalising the number of roadblocks on our roads as a short-term solution to people’s complaints.”
Dr Chombo said police, pursuant to their mandate of maintaining law and order as enshrined in Section 219 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, continue to harness modern technologies to enhance efficiency.
“In this regard, the Zimbabwe Republic Police in November 2016 signed a Private-Public Partnership deal with Univern Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd culminating in the establishment of an Electronic Traffic Management System.
“The major aim of this system is to improve service delivery through the provision of transparent and accountable traffic enforcements, curb vehicle theft, bring sanity to our roads, curb corruption and above all, automate traffic enforcements,” he said.
He said the Electronic Traffic Management System linked the Vehicle Theft Squad to Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development entities like the Vehicle Inspection Department and Central Vehicle Registry under the Zimbabwe Transport Information System platforms and toll gates.
This linkage, he said, would enable traffic stations, police roadblocks, tollgates, ports of entry and mobile patrols to interact and make online queries to verify the status of suspect vehicles.
“Links to the sub-regional police database on stolen motor vehicles will now be possible through linkage with the Interpol (1-24/7) communication system. We believe that once this system is fully operational, the number of roadblocks will be greatly reduced and most of the concerns from the general public will be addressed,” Dr Chombo said.
Meanwhile, Dr Chombo has sent a condolence message to the families of 14 people who perished in an accident along the Bulawayo-Gwanda Road on Wednesday.
The victims were travelling in a commuter omnibus to a funeral in Masvingo when a haulage truck collided with their vehicle near the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) in Bulawayo.
The accident happened at about 10pm.
“May I also take this opportunity to urge all motorists to exercise caution on our roads which are in bad shape due to incessant rains and floods we are currently experiencing to avoid loss of lives,” Dr Chombo said.
He said the ministry, through the Lotteries and Gaming Board, has offered a total of $7 000 to the families of the deceased — $500 for each victim.
Dr Chombo said the ministry has a mandate to save lives and police were the first respondents to any crisis and as such, they stood ready together with other arms of Government to assist victims of flooding.