More than 2 805 vehicles have been impounded after police and other key stakeholders this week launched an operation targeting vehicles driven in breach of the law including unregistered and unlicenced vehicles, pirate taxis and pirate kombis, and drivers committing traffic and parking offences as authorities step up efforts to ensure compliance with road laws.
Driving and parking offenders are also targeted under the special operation, particularly in urban centres where indiscipline has been rife in recent months. The operation also targets vehicles whose import duty was underpaid.
Other stakeholders involved in the blitz aimed at ensuring that vehicle owners comply with the requirements of the law, include the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe, Vehicle Examination Department, the Insurance Council of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, and city and town councils.
Police confirmed that over 2 800 vehicles, buses, commuter omnibuses and pirate taxis have been impounded during this ongoing operation to curb lawlessness on the roads, especially in major cities where drivers are violating road rules and regulations with some driving against oncoming traffic.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the operation was continuing until there was compliance.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police has launched operation ‘Tame the Traffic Jungle’ in all the country’s provinces with effect from September 12, 2023.
“This operation has been necessitated by the lawlessness on the roads especially in major cities and towns where some drivers are openly causing chaos and congestion by driving the wrong way down one-way roads in the face of oncoming traffic, through red robots and reckless lane violation,” he said.
He said police were also concerned with the reckless conduct by pirate vehicles, mushikashika and some registered kombis who are carrying passengers from undesignated points, while contravening the country’s laws with impunity.
“Licenced public service vehicles are contributing to the chaos and congestion by loading and off loading passengers at undesignated points and openly endangering the lives of the public through reckless conduct at controlled road intersections and traffic lights.
“Police will therefore ensure that the law takes its course without fear or favour. Any vehicle moving on the roads with no registration plates will be impounded. This includes those vehicles which have been imported and are moving with temporary plates,” he said.
Asst Comm Nyathi said police had been assured by Central Vehicle Registry that they had adequate stock of number plates, therefore there was no excuse for motorists not to register vehicles within two weeks after import as stipulated under the Vehicle Registration and Licencing Act.
“Police will also take action on heavy vehicles which are criss-crossing residential suburbs in towns and cities while clearly disregarding the use of outlying designated routes as required by national regulations and local authority by-laws.
“Above all, operation ‘Tame the Traffic Jungle’ will also account for unroadworthy vehicles and public service vehicles which do not have legal documents such as insurance, route authority and certificate of fitness. Vehicle owners who leave broken-down vehicles on the road while blocking traffic with some using tree branches and stones as warning signs instead of proper reflective triangles will not be spared,” he said.
Police would also take action against illegal fittings on motor vehicles, for example, bar lights used in violation of Statutory Instrument 129 of 2015 Road Traffic (Construction, Equipment and Use) Regulations.
Farming equipment such as tractors and combine harvesters driven on highways disregarding relevant regulating statutes will also be impounded.
“Meanwhile, on Tuesday, police made 1 940 arrests and impounded 865 vehicles as the operation took effect throughout the country.
“The police warn motorists who will try to compromise the operation by trying to negotiate with police officers on the ground or offer bribes to be let off scot-free that they will be arrested.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police urges the public to cooperate with police officers and relevant stakeholders in order to bring sanity on the country’s roads and central business districts,” he said.
Asst Comm Nyathi said the public is free to report errant drivers to the National Complaints Desk number (024) 2703631 or WhatsApp number 0712 800 197.