MASVINGO — Over 100 motorists were arrested by the police on Wednesday in Masvingo for various traffic offences, while over 200 cars were impounded leaving the holding cells overcrowded as many could not afford the $100 fines, NewsDay established.
By Tatenda Chitagu
The vehicles, including pirate taxis, commuter omnibuses and private cars, were impounded at mostly roadblocks.
The operation left several commuters on their way to work, stranded.
Masvingo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Charity Mazula could not give the exact number of the cars impounded as well as the motorists arrested. She said she was yet to get the details from the head of the traffic police section in Masvingo.
However, NewsDay passed by Chikato Police Station in Mucheke high-density suburb where several cars were still holed up yesterday.
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs Lilian Timveos said the move to force motorists to pay spot fines was itself illegal and even the $100 fines were not yet gazetted.
“This is illegal because when [Finance minister Patrick] Chinamasa announced it in Parliament, we told him that it was illegal as the spot fine issue was also controversial and he said he was going to look into it, so now I am shocked that it is being implemented by the police and where are they getting the power to do it?
“This should stop forthwith as most Zimbabweans earn between $300-$400 so if they are fined $100, how do you expect them to survive?” she queried.
The blitz in Masvingo followed another one in Harare on Monday where over 100 pirate taxis operating in the central business district were impounded on suspicion that their drivers could be involved in most hit-and-run accidents recorded in the city.