The Sunday News
Valencia Ndhlovu/Rutendo Nyeve, Sunday News Reporters
POLICE in Bulawayo today (Wednesday) netted over 100 pirate taxis in an operation dubbed ‘Bring back sanity to the CBD’.
Police details and operators of illegal taxis have since yesterday been engaged in a cat and mouse tussle in the city, with the police impounding all illegal taxis they find operating within the CBD.
Bulawayo provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Abednico Ncube, speaking at a media briefing held at Ross Camp confirmed that the operation had to date netted 103 pirate taxis, also known as mshikashikas.
He said the Zimbabwe Republic Police were enforcing all laws including road regulations in Bulawayo after discovering some miscellaneous behaviour from illegal pirate taxi operators.
“Lately, we have discovered that Mshikashika and illegal kombi operators had taken over some of our streets particularly Sixth Avenue and those places were no longer passable so we engaged in an operation code named bring sanity to the CBD.
“This operation is targeting illegal kombi operators and any other motor vehicle that is disregarding the laws which include but not limited to picking passengers in undesignated areas and blocking the roads. So, we engaged several stakeholders including private players as part of the integrated approach and having our support unit with us and Bulawayo Central Traffic. We have since arrested more than 103 mshikashikas including two buses that were found loading in undesignated places,” said Insp Ncube.
He said the police had since discovered that some of the illegal pirate taxi operators were also involved in committing serious crimes ranging from robbery to stock theft.
“Some of these mshikashikas are suspected to be used as get away cars in robbery and armed robbery cases. This is the reason why when they see a police vehicle approaching, they take off at a high-speed disregarding life of the members of the public which is why in this vein we are inviting members of the public to avoid boarding or using these types of mshikashika vehicles,” said Insp Ncube.
He revealed that within seven days they had received seven rape cases and four of them were committed by mshikashika operators.
“Our members of the public will be boarding these kombis unaware that they are being used for criminal activities and at the end of the day get raped and robbed. During the day they are operating as mshikashika and at night they are involved in a lot of illegal activities,” said the police spokesperson.