No respite for hwindis

HARARE - Operation Nguva Yakwana (Time Up), a joint crackdown on commuter omnibus operators by Harare City Council and police to force touts out of the city centre, is here to stay despite resistance.

The operation also targets defective and unlicensed commuter omnibuses, council spokesperson Leslie Gwindi said.

Gwindi said more than 2 000 commuter omnibuses had been netted since the launch of the blitz a fortnight ago.

The operation will be in full swing until sanity returns to the capital, he said.

“So far, 792 operators were found guilty of operating without permits while 470 were operating without rank discs,” Gwindi said in a statement to reporters.

Town authorities have identified 10 designated ranks located at Fourth Street, Charge Office, Market Square, Copacabana, Kwame Nkrumah Avenue/Mbuya Nehanda Street, Kwame Nkrumah Avenue/ Park Street, Rezende Street South, Chinhoyi Street, Harare Street and Mbuya Nehanda Street.

Commuter operators who use undesignated ranks face the combined wrath of the national and council police, Gwindi said.

The operation has seen defective vehicles being clamped and towed away with owners paying $132 to have their vehicles released.

They are also forced to pay a $20 fine to the police.

“The exercise, meant to protect the public from touts, is far from being over as the operators are offering resistance in some cases,” said Gwindi.

“There is a common misunderstanding among members of the public that we are at war with the commuter operators.

“All we want is order in the city that has previously been wrecked by tout-inspired violence,” he said.

Police pushed out touts from city ranks in August after they became violent and fleeced operators of no less than $30 000 a day.

Since then, peace has prevailed although touts are plotting their comeback.

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