THE ongoing police operation against pirate taxis in Bulawayo is a welcome development as the city centre had become a den for law breakers.
Police have since last week been impounding pirate taxis that operate from undesignated pick-up points in the central business district.
According to reports, close to 80 vehicles have been impounded since last Friday.
Pirate taxis have flooded the commuter transport sector since dollarisation amid indications that some are even owned by police officers.
Zimbabwe Republic Police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri a few months ago had to issue a directive to police officers to desist from operating in the public transport business because of the obvious conflict of interest.
Pirate taxis have become popular with commuters because the owners of unregistered vehicles are not bound by an law to operate from designated termini in the city.
Commuters enjoy the fact that these illegal transporters use undesignated pick-up points that could be nearer to their workplaces compared to the legal termini that are mostly located on the outskirts of the Bulawayo central business district.
The Bulawayo Public Transport Association has also welcomed the police move saying pirates are pushing lawful operators out of business.
Registered operators pay various taxes and have to meet certain conditions that require money for them to operate above board, yet the pirates only need their cars to be in business.
Therefore, it is surprising that police had to wait for this long to act on the pirate taxis. Granted, the city is grappling with high unemployment as a result of company closures, it is no excuse for a break in the rule of law. The police would be under the spotlight as they carry out this operation and it is our hope that there would be no sacred cows.
Police should ensure that the chaos in the public transport sector is curbed and such operations must not wait for a complete breakdown in law and order such as is the case in Bulawayo right now.
Order on the roads should be maintained at all times even when police officers have a stake.