ZUPCO on verge of collapse as contractors withdraw

Garikai Mafirakureva

Masvingo – The Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) is on the verge of total collapse after President Mnangagwa revoked statutory instrument 83 of 2020 which gave the parastatal monopoly to provide public transport.

The revocation made on Saturday has triggered mass withdrawals by transporters who were contracted by the parastatal with a total of 34 out of 67 kombis and four buses withdrawn from ZUPCO Masvingo on Monday alone, according to an investigation by The Mirror.

Inter-Africa reportedly withdrew its entire four 65-seater fleet of buses contracted to Zupco. Contractors told The Mirror that they were withdrawing from the ZUPCO contracts because there were long delays in getting payments and the payments were in RTGS making it difficult to buy parts for vehicles.

Efforts to establish the extent of withdrawal of buses nationwide were futile. It was however, established 

The withdrawals are not only going to see ZUPCO operating on a severely depleted fleet but is going to see hundreds of workers employed as conductors and in other positions losing their jobs. Some 114 workers are facing the chop in Masvingo alone.

ZUPCO acting Chief Executive Officer Evaristo Madangwa was evasive and said question should be forwarded to his mobile via WhatsApp. He however, did not respond to questions send to him. 

The Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development, Felix Mhona could neither confirmed nor deny the withdrawals in a telephone interview and said Government is working on ensuring that passengers are not inconvenienced.

“While noting the apparent withdrawal of services by some operators, Government wishes to state that no effort is being spared in ensuring that the inconvenience to the travelling public is minimised,” said Mhona.

Zimbabwe Passenger Association president Tafadzwa Goliati confirmed the withdrawals. 

President Mnangagwa in 2020 banned all public transporters except ZUPCO from providing public transport in a bid to contain the spread of the deadly Covid19 virus. The parastatal then contracted private contractors who were paid on a monthly basis to supplement its fleet. The parastatal has since then been the only entity providing public transport.

On Saturday, Mnangagwa however had to revoke the arrangement as transport crisis started to bite in all urban centres but in particular Harare. He allowed all licenced transporters to resume business.

“Government is proceeding to open up the public transport system for other players in order to complement the services being provided by Zupco, in line with the reduction in COVID-19 cases and the subsequent opening up of the economy,” Mnangagwa said. 

 “I have heard that some operators have withdrawn. This is not an association position. All we want as an association to see compliance with Vehicle Inspectorate Department (VID), Council, Zinara, and other regulations,” said Goliati. https://twonations.co.zw

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