Home » Judicial » Bulawayo Commutters Stranded As Kombis Protest ZRP Bribes

COMMUTTER omnibus operators in Bulawayo suspended operations Monday protesting extortion and harassment by traffic police, leaving thousands of commuters stranded.

The operators accused the police of crippling their businesses by demanding bribes ranging from $3 up to $20 per trip.

Commuters in high density suburbs such as Nkulumane, Nketa, and Luveve woke up to empty roads after commuter omnibus operators withdrew their services.

The operators blocked some of the main roads leading to the Central Business District and even harassed private vehicle owners who were giving lifts to some of the stranded commuters.

Some of the striking operators assembled Southworld shopping centre and at Nketa 7 filling station where they protested in song denouncing the police action.

An anti-riot police team had to be deployed to the scene to quell the rioters and clear some of the blocked routes.

An operator plying the Luveve-city centre route said they were tired of being fleeced by the police.

“We have been quiet for a long time but we want to say enough is enough,” said the operator who identified himself as Ndlovu.

“We can’t keep giving police our hard earned money yet at the end of the month they also get paid.

“Every day I part with about $20 which I give to the police in order for them to allow my kombi to operate, this is daylight robbery.”

A National University of Science and Technology (NUST) student who commutes every day to college, had to miss the day’s lectures as he could not get transport.

“I missed out on my lessons today because I failed to get a commuter omnibus to ferry me to town. I hope this stalemate will be resolved soon as I do not want to fall behind in my studies,” said Sithandazile Dube.

The Bulawayo Public Transporters Association (BUPTA), one of the commuter omnibus companies operating in the city, denied organising the strike when contacted for a comment.

“We did not organise the strike but we only heard that there was strike from some of the operators in the morning,” said the association secretary general, Albert Ncube.

Source : New Zimbabwe