MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa said the government should lift the ban on private omnibus (kombi) operators and allow them to operate as before.
Chamisa argued that the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) monopoly is not only illegal but has rendered thousands of Zimbabwean youths jobless after they were forced to park their kombis.
Further, members of the public spend hours in queues and are then packed like sardines in few ZUPCO buses, exposing them to the deadly coronavirus. Chamisa tweeted:
The illegal ZUPCO monopoly has left many jobless and brought suffering leaving many stranded or in overcrowded rickety buses and resorting to insecure open trucks. ZUPCO is potentially a COVID-19 super spreader but ‘Chefs’ don’t care. #BringbackKombis
This comes after Minister of Local Government and Public Works July Moyo on Saturday said companies that had engaged private transport operators must do so through ZUPCO. He said:
ZUPCO affiliated commuter omnibuses are the only ones allowed to operate, that is the policy in place and it has not changed.
Anybody who has their own buses and wants to operate must go and register with ZUPCO.
This all is to ensure that we manage urban companies through one company but with many owners.
All we are saying is that we want to bring sanity to the whole system.
Even companies that want to hire buses for their workers should do so through ZUPCO alone and not hire private companies.
Last week hundreds of people, including schoolchildren in Bulawayo, were left stranded as police impounded staff buses, vehicles hired to ferry school children that are not registered under ZUPCO and pirate taxis.
This resulted in chaos as most school children who are ferried to schools in hired buses were stranded while some workers failed to get to work in time.
The private-owned commuter omnibuses have been banned since the lockdown was effected on 30 March last year as part of measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus and only operators affiliated with ZUPCO were allowed to operate.