POLICE in Gwanda, Matabeleland South Province, impounded 25 illegal taxi operators popularly known as mshika shika during the Easter holidays.
The police launched an operation code-named “Operation no to mshika shika” on March 31.
The impounded cars are kept at Gwanda Urban Police Station and are released only after the accused persons have paid a fine of $500. The illegal taxi operators who commonly use Honda Fit and Fun Cargo vehicles are still on the streets taking advantage of reduced police roadblocks.
Government last year restructured the country’s urban transport sector and directed that all public transporters should fall under the ambit of Zupco.
Matabeleland South provincial police spokesperson Inspector Loveness Mangena warned the pirate taxi operators that the police will not hesitate to come hard on them.
“We launched the operation on March 31 and as of today (yesterday) we have impounded 25 mshika shika cars.
“Other impounded cars include those without number plates. Government has said the Central Vehicle Registry has enough number plates and as such, there is no excuse to drive unregistered vehicles,” said Insp Mangena.
Insp Mangena said during the blitz, they also arrested touts and people blocking pavements suspected to be illegal money changers.
“During the blitz we also arrested three touts and ten people for blocking pavements and 17 people for defying the curfew period which runs from 10pm,” she said.
Insp Mangena urged the public to desist from boarding the pirate taxis as they risk being victims of robberies. She warned the pirate taxi operators that it is not long before the long arm of the law catches up with them.
“Members of the public are urged to avoid at all costs boarding mshika shika cars as they risk becoming victims of robberies. The public should make use of the Zupco kombis and buses.
“As for the drivers of the pirate taxis, as police we warn you that we are not going to sit down and let you do as you please,” said Insp Mangena.
When the news crew yesterday visited Gwanda Urban Police Station, the ZRP Matabeleland South Provincial Headquarters, impounded cars were parked at the yard while owners were queuing outside paying fines and undergoing a screening process.
Source – chronicle