Government has set up an inter-Ministerial taskforce to deal with congestion in Harare which is said to have 1,5 million cars driving on its central business district roads on a daily basis.
Diana Nherera Suburban Reporter
The congestion is caused by illegal structures including car sales on road servitudes, which restrict the width of a road thereby causing the jams.
It is also caused by vendors who display their wares on the road, unregistered vehicles and pirate taxis also known as mushikashika who continue to operate despite their ban. Only Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) franchised commuter omnibuses are allowed to operate.
The taskforce comprises the Ministries of Local Government and Public Works, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services, Transport and Infrastructural Development and Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development.
Speaking at a Harare Municipal Traffic Police Training launch held at the City Sports Centre on Wednesday, Local Government Minister July Moyo said the inter-Ministerial taskforce will deal with traffic congestion.
“Government cannot sit and watch.
“Therefore an inter-Ministerial committee was set up to implement the Cabinet decisions on decongestion.
“The inter-Ministerial taskforce has therefore cast an eagle’s eye on three aspects necessary to tame the traffic jungle.
“The three aspects to combat traffic congestion are infrastructure development, public transport logistics and enforcement.
“On infrastructure, we are talking about street lighting, repair of robots and traffic signals on major junctions, installation of new traffic lights, repair of roads and junctions, modification of roundabouts and improving termini facilities.
“On public transport logistics, we are talking about procurement, hiring and deployment of ZUPCO buses, reviving traditional bus routes and using designated bus stops, introducing bus time tables and electronic payment systems,” he said.
Minister Moyo said the third aspect is on enforcement which is a combined effort by the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the municipal police.
“The joint operation between the Zimbabwe Republic Police and Harare City Council in the recent past saw the impounding of 3 209 vehicles and a total of 1 001 were towed away to a secure compound, 4 572 vendors and 557 touts were arrested,” he said.
Minister Moyo said there is need to increase manpower in the city’s traffic department.
“I am reliably informed that the human resources and general purposes committee also already considered increasing the traffic establishment from 271 to 561 positions and the proposed changes to the overall establishment of council as new posts will be set off against non-critical vacant positions as part of the rationalisation of the establishment and ensuring that the overall cost is within budget.
“We have approved the increase of establishment for traffic enforcement from the current 271 to 1139 positions,” he said.
Minister Moyo said Government has seen it fit to disburse $55 million towards traffic laws enforcement to fund tow vehicles, motor cycles and heavy duty tow vehicles.
He urged municipal police to shun corruption.
Speaking at the same occasion, acting town clerk, Engineer Phakamile Moyo said Government is playing a key role in ensuring municipal traffic police is well-equipped.
“We received donated funds from the President Emmerson Mnangagwa that we used to purchase hampers for all traffic enforcement officers.
“We are also grateful that your Ministry agreed to increase the establishment of traffic officers from 271 to 1 139 given our added responsibilities,” he said.
Eng Moyo thanked Government for the approval for training of 200 traffic enforcement officers by the Zimbabwe Republic Police.
“We thank the ZRP and the Ministry of Home Affairs for their readiness to embark on joint operations and preparedness to facilitate this training programme,” he said.