TRAFFIC police in Bulawayo have intensified their blitz on road users with revelations they are now charging private motorists for pirating should they give anyone a lift.
The latest blitz targeting private motorists comes as accusations increase that some traffic cops own kombis and taxis plying city routes and the arrests were meant to rid any competition for their vehicles.
There has been a proliferation of pirate taxis, particularly Honda Fit vehicles. A Southern Eye news crew witnessed traffic cops along the notorious Khami Road “permanent” roadblock ticketing motorists despite protestations of not pirating.
Angry motorists recounted how the latest police move was in inconveniencing them as they made their way to work since they demanded spot fines or forced them to drive to the Traffic West department in Mpopoma.
“I give my relatives and neighbours a lift every day when going to work, but l am now being charged with pirating,” said an angry motorist, who had just been given a $15 spot fine. “This is my private vehicle and giving lifts to residents is part of my social responsibility.
“The policeman in charge had the ‘cheek’ to say my passengers, who happened to be relatives and neighbours, should use registered kombis. I suspect he is one of the corrupt traffic cops with a stake in the kombi business. We know business is down because there are a lot of pirate taxis.”
Bulawayo Public Transport Association general secretary Albert Ncube said: “It is undisputed that most of these pirating taxis belong to some police officers. Most of the cars that use the Matopo Road route don’t have number plates showing that they have something to hide.”
Ncube further clarified that the pirate drivers tended to be rude because they recieved some form protection.
Efforts to get a comment from Bulawayo provincial police spokesperson Mandlenkosi Moyo concerning the issue were unsuccessful as he was said to be out of the office.