GWERU: Police in the Midlands province have declared war on Illegal pirate taxis and travelers who are defying the government’s ban on inter-city travel with several people getting arrested while their vehicles get impounded.
The development came about as police launched a massive operation to ensure compliance to the COVID 19 restrictions which have seen 171 vehicles being impounded for ferrying passengers without authority while others were arrested for embarking on intercity travel this weekend alone.
Of those arrested 115 were impounded in Gweru district and the law enforcement agents are adamant that the crackdown continues until sanity prevails.
“We have realised the general disregard of the lockdown regulations by the members of the public and decided to scale up our operations to deal with the menace. It’s unfortunate that we have to embark on such an exercise but sometimes the public leaves us with no or little choice.
“Our understanding is that members of the public must act responsibly by not boarding such vehicles and respect the law. Those who want to partake in ferrying passengers must register with ZUPCO and meet the government requirements,” said Midlands police spokesperson Inspector Emmanuel Mahoko.
The crackdown by police comes at a time when COVID 19 cases are on an upsurge while some illegal pirate taxis have been involved in fatal accidents along the country’s major highways in the province in direct disregard of intercity travel restrictions.
Taxi drivers who have acknowledged how difficult it has become for them to operate however say police are covering for mistakes made by one of their own who recently got involved in an accident which claimed lives close to Connemara Prison.
“It’s cold out there. We can no longer risk pirating but what is unfair however is that these operations only get heated when there has been a major accident which in most cases us as drivers are not involved in.
“In this case, a police officer was involved in an accident close to Connemara and to cover up the fracas, they wage war on us. They should deal with their issues internally because we want to work and fend for our families,” said a pirate taxi driver who refused to be named.