HARARE - Dozens of kombi and taxi operators are crying foul over the delay by police to release their impounded vehicles even after they have paid fines.
But national police spokesperson senior assistant commissioner Charity Charamba said police were still vetting the vehicles.
“Police do not just impound vehicles for no reason,” Charamba told the Daily News yesterday.
“Clearing an impounded vehicle is a process. The cars need to be checked by Vehicle Inspection Department (VID), Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), permit authorities and other stakeholders for other offences. So these kombi owners should not complain, after all they committed a crime.”
Police and the Harare City Council have been clamping down on kombi and pirate taxis in Harare’s Central Business District following a sharp increase in hit-and-run cases.
Since January, over 100 vehicles have been impounded and sent to Chikurubi Police Support Unit Camp.
Some of the kombi operators said even after paying $20 admission of guilt fines, police are yet to release the vehicles.
Instead, they have been told to criss-cross the city canvassing stamps from various commuter regulating authorities to authentic that their vehicles are roadworthy.
But even with the stamped forms, police have not flinched, the operators said.
This has left the helpless operators incurring a daily storage charge of $5.
“If it’s an issue of fundraising for the birthday of the president, they should come out in the open and tell us, because this is not right,” fumed Gift Macheyi, who said his Toyota Hiace was impounded on Monday for traffic violations.
Rudolf Nyati, another Toyota Hiace owner impounded last week for parking at an undesignated spot, said “I have done all the processes required but everything has been in vain.”
Another kombi operator, Tod Kusena, who said his vehicle was impounded last week Tuesday for dangerous parking, felt the police actions were unfair.
“Having paid $20 fine, we were told to approach Harare City Council, Zimra, Zimbabwe Nationals Road Administration and VID so that they stamp our papers, proving that our cars have no other offences.
“But we are still stuck because the Police DisPol (officer commanding district) is now refusing to sign,” Kusena said.
Kombi driver Godfrey Katsande claimed the police were punishing operators because a policeman was recently run over by a kombi.