PAZ gives government a 24-hour ultimatum

Albert Chavhunduka

The Passengers Association of Zimbabwe (PAZ) has given government a 24-hour ultimatum to ensure that it addresses the ongoing public transport crisis which has left thousands of commuters stranded across the country.

The ongoing countrywide blitz by the ZRP dubbed “Respect Other Road Users/ Remekedzai Vamwe Vanoshandisa Mugwagwa/ Hloniphani Abanye Abasebenzisa Umgwaqo” against illegal public transporters has worsened the situation and is set to continue until there is sanity on the roads.

In a statement through their lawyers from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), PAZ cited the Ministry of Local Government and the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO), giving them 24-hours to ensure that they provide enough buses to ease the transport challenges commuters are currently facing failure of which they will be forced to institute legal proceedings.

“On behalf of the Passenger Association of Zimbabwe, we have given ZUPCO and the Ministry of Local Government 24-hours to provide an adequate fleet of buses and commuter omnibuses for public transportation and ease the challenges that passengers and commuters are currently facing,” read the statement.

“In a letter written by Tinashe Chinopfukutwa of ZLHR, we told ZUPCO and Ministry of Local Government that failure to comply with the request will leave us with no option but to instituite legal proceedings to compel them to do so as this failure to provide and supply adequate buses and commuter omnibuses amounts to violation of commuters and passengers’ right to freedom of movement as provided in Section 66(2) of the Constitution.”

PAZ further added that ZUPCO’s monopoly of public transport has resulted in the state-owned parastatal inefficiently failing to meet its demand which has crippled the public transport system.

“We also stated that ZUPCO’s failure to provide public transportation services despite being given a monopoly amounts to inefficient and unreasonable administrative conduct which is a breach of commuters’ right to administrative justice guaranteed under Section 68(1) of the Constitution,” said PAZ.

During the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, government banned illegal commuter omnibus operators who were directed to join the ZUPCO franchise as a way of getting rid of pirate taxis on the roads.

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