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MDC-T Blames Transport Challenges On “ZUPCO Monopoly”

5 September 2021

Opposition MDC-T led by Senator Douglas Mwonzora has said transport challenges experienced in Harare and other cities on Friday is a result of the ZUPCO monopoly.

The party said the government should have allowed other actors to chip in since the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) is failing to meet the demand.

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The government banned private-owned buses and commuter omnibuses from the roads in 2020 following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Pindula News presents a statement by Senator Tichaona Mavetera, the party's Shadow Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development.

Statement on transport challenges caused by the ZUPCO monopoly

The MDC T strongly condemns the unhealthy monopoly that the state-owned Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) is enjoying in the urban transport sector. ZUPCO has enjoyed a monopoly in the sector since March 2020 when the government imposed Covid-19 lockdown restrictions while grounding privately-operated buses and kombis, in a move that has greatly inconvenienced workers, students and the general urban population in Zimbabwe.

The Government of Zimbabwe must urgently remove the legally created ZUPCO monopoly which has and is not serving the interest of the common man and woman on the street. It should immediately open up the transportation of commuters to private players. This monopoly has failed. ZUPCO in its current format does not cover all obvious routes. Most of its suburban routes are from suburb, down the main road, to the city .ntre has disadvantaging people who live further away from the main roads. We, therefore, urge government to increase funding and capitalisation of ZUPCO so that it can fulfil its mandate as a public transporter of choice for the poor members of our society. In addition, the corruption at ZUPCO has become an albatross to ZUPCO's resuscitation, and thus, should be weeded out. However, the govemment must also .pacitate private sector players so that they can provide an alternative and competition to ZUPCO, with the ultimate benefit being the safe and affordable travel for Zimbabweans.

As labour backed social democrats, we subscribe to full passenger rights to safe, affordable, accessible transport for all Zimbabweans. In the same vein, Govemment must urgently find ways to allow private commuter operators to start operating in order to ease the transport problems currently being experienced by commuters. Private transport operators employ mostly youths, whom the government has ignored over the years, and failed to provide them with alternative employment.

As a government in waiting, the MDCT promises Zimbabweans a safe, affordable, transport for our people and we also will ensure that the transport sector will be liberalised and modern. We will allow and incentivise private players to come in and assist government in the provision of safe transport and also create a business-friendly legal framework for all public transport operators. Corruption at ZUPCO and other state-owned enterprises will not be condoned. We will ensure ZUPCO is well capitalised and vaccinated against endemic corruption to allow it to achieve its mandate.

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