HARARE – Reports are filtering in that some top ZUPCO officials are demanding kickbacks from kombi operators wishing to go under its kombis franchise , TSTnews reveals.
By Farai Maphosa
Kombi operators are in a quandary after government did not lift its ban on private transport operators during the now indefinite lockdown urging them to join the ZUPCO scheme if they want to operate.
However, speaking to TSTnews, a distraught Kombi operator says he is being frustrated by the outrageous bribe demands by some top officials to grease their palms before being attested into the scheme.
“I had applied for my kombi to join the scheme now that government is adamant that no private transport operator is allowed to operate during this lockdown but what I found shocking is that some top ZUPCO officials want $ZW6 000(US103) for my bid to be successful.
“Imagine that we have not been operating all along and someone wants such an obscene amount,” fumed the operator who requested anonymity.
This was also confirmed by Greater Harare Commuter Omnibus Operators (GHACO) Secretary-General Ngoni Katsvairo.
“We have received numerous reports by some of our members claiming that they are being asked to pay bribes to enable them to join the ZUPCO scheme,” Katsvairo told TSTnews.
He also went on to register his concern on the government’s stance of banning private transport operators when the scheme can’t accommodate all kombis operating.
“While we are saying our members are free to join ZUPCO what is worrying is that the 500 kombis the government is willing to take on board are just not enough what happens to the rest who would have been left out,” questioned Katsvairo.
Contacted for comment by TSTnews, ZUPCO chief executive officer Evaristo Madangwa could neither deny or confirm the allegations.
Under the ZUPCO kombi franchise,applicants are required to have a VID fitness certificate,a Class 2 driver with a medical certificate and a valid operating permit among other conditions.
But the ban on private kombis has been criticised by some including MDC Alliance politician Fadzayi Mahere who advised the coerced kombi operators to seek legal recourse .