Manda­tory retests for driv­ers on the cards

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Harare Bu­reau

LI­CENCES for non-pub­lic ser­vice ve­hi­cle driv­ers should ex­pire so that they are re-ex­am­ined to as­sess com­pe­tence and suit­abil­ity as a means to curb road car­nage, a par­lia­men­tary port­fo­lio com­mit­tee has pro­posed.

The re­forms, if adopted, would also in­clude the com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion of the Ve­hi­cle In­spec­tion De­part­ment (VID) to en­sure it op­er­ates ef­fi­ciently.

Only driv­ers of pub­lic ser­vice ve­hi­cles un­dergo pe­ri­odic tests, which in­clude com­pe­tence and phys­i­cal sta­tus checks to as­sess suit­abil­ity to con­tinue driv­ing on the coun­try’s roads.

The Par­lia­men­tary Port­fo­lio Com­mit­tee on Trans­port and In­fra­struc­ture De­vel­op­ment chair­per­son Cde Dex­ter Nduna said the re­forms would be in keep­ing with in­ter­na­tional best prac­tices. “Our li­cences are the only ones which do not ex­pire while a lot changes in the course of one’s life with some hav­ing con­strained eye­sight and other phys­i­cal changes which lim­its their com­pe­tence to re­main on our roads,” said Cde Nduna.

“The li­cences are the only ones which do not ex­pire and yet the owner can lose some of their fac­ul­ties thereby putting the life of oth­ers at risk.”

The call comes at a time when sta­tis­tics show that 85 per­cent of road ac­ci­dents are a re­sult of hu­man er­ror.

Cde Nduna said age also plays a key role in judge­ment, eye­sight and re­ac­tion to sit­u­a­tions.

In some coun­tries, for in­stance driv­ing is re­stricted to 75 years with spe­cial dis­pen­sa­tion for some types of roads af­ter un­der­go­ing as­sess­ment.

On the com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion of VID, Cde Nduna said this would in­clude com­put­er­i­sa­tion and in­te­gra­tion of all de­part­ments in­clud­ing the Cen­tral Ve­hi­cle Reg­istry (CVR), which is­sues li­cences into the trans­port sys­tem.

It is ex­pected that this would curb cor­rup­tion that has forced a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of peo­ple to clan­des­tinely get cer­tifi­cates of com­pe­tence. This would in­clude in­creas­ing the num­ber of VID in­spec­tion and test­ing de­pots to 38 from the cur­rent 23 to boost rev­enue and div­i­dend to Gov­ern­ment.

VID is re­al­is­ing about $2 mil­lion per month trans­lat­ing to around $24 mil­lion per year which is ex­pected to grow to around $110 mil­lion with the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the re­forms.

“Com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion of VID will broaden the rev­enue base for both the de­part­ment and gov­ern­ment,” said Cde Nduna.

He said the in­spec­tion role of VID would be ex­tended to non-pub­lic ser­vice ve­hi­cles which bear the black on yellow num­ber plates.

Of­fi­cials in the min­istry how­ever, hinted on the ex­is­tence of such pro­pos­als which are be­lieved to be at var­i­ous lev­els of im­ple­men­ta­tion and con­sid­er­a­tion.

Min­is­ter Dr Jo­ram Gumbo re­ferred tech­nocrats in the min­istry for clar­i­fi­ca­tion.

“These are tech­ni­cal is­sues and op­er­a­tional is­sues, tech­ni­cal peo­ple should re­spond,” he said. all ques­tions to AN umalay­it­sha from Bu­l­awayo with his South African wife and two other cross bor­der driv­ers al­legedly killed Zim­bab­wean trav­ellers, raped dozens, kid­napped more than 100 and ex­torted cash from oth­ers.

The quar­tet was ar­rested in July last year and are fac­ing 62 charges rang­ing from mur­der, rape, robbery, ex­tor­tion and as­sault against fel­low coun­try­men south of the Lim­popo River.

They would al­legedly lure hik­ers to Jo­han­nes­burg from Musina and later at­tack them at se­cluded houses in the neigh­bour­ing coun­try, dur­ing a two month crime spree.

They al­legedly de­manded at least R3 000 ran­som from their vic­tim’s fam­i­lies and raped, se­verely as­saulted or killed those whose rel­a­tives failed to pay. The gang, al­legedly part of a larger syndicate that preys on hik­ers at Musina, is set to ap­pear at the Palm Ridge High Court in Jo­han­nes­burg be­tween Oc­to­ber 10 and Novem­ber 4.

They are ac­cused of killing Olga Gwena (25) of Chi­tung­wiza and Es­ther Mwenda of Harare, among oth­ers.

Charles Ce­cil Brewer (36), alias Boss of Nketa 7 in Bu­l­awayo, his South African wife, Ma­dida Pe­ti­tion Sicelo (30) alias Sis­ter, Ja­heni ‘Satan’ Luphahla (28) of Old Loben­gula in Bu­l­awayo and Phathu­muzi ‘KK’ Sibanda (27) of Emakhan­deni in Bu­l­awayo are ac­cused of com­mit­ting the of­fences be­tween May 30 and July 11 last year.

They have been lan­guish­ing in re­mand prison since their ar­rest in July last year and were de­nied bail at the Them­bisa mag­is­trate’s court in Jo­han­nes­burg be­fore the mat­ter was trans­ferred to the High Court. Luphahla al­legedly earned the Satan moniker in the South African un­der­world for re­put­edly be­ing “wicked than Lu­cifer him­self.”

The case has been drag­ging on as the ac­cused have been strug­gling to get a lawyer af­ter dump­ing the state’s free le­gal prac­ti­tion­ers.

Of­fi­cials close to in­ves­ti­ga­tions said yes­ter­day: “The gang is be­lieved to be part of a syndicate tar­get­ing mostly women trav­el­ling be­tween Musina and Jo­han­nes­burg in Gaut­eng Province. “They were picked up dur­ing a po­lice st­ing oper­a­tion in Musina on 25 July. The ac­cused per­sons have been pos­i­tively iden­ti­fied by most of the vic­tims,” said the source.

The of­fi­cial said Brewer and Ma­dida were iden­ti­fied as the driv­ers of a white Opel registration num­bers SNB949GP and a red Hyundai Ma­trix registration num­bers ND462078.

The syndicate op­er­ates from To­tal and En­gen fill­ing sta­tions and a house in Musina, tar­get­ing Zim­bab­wean hitch-hik­ers trav­el­ling to Gaut­eng province.

The State has subpoe­naed more than 100 wit­nesses to tes­tify against the four. Brewer, who is al­legedly the mas­ter­mind of the orgy of crimes, has re­port­edly ap­proached the pros­e­cu­tion for a plea bar­gain.

He al­legedly wants to turn into a key State wit­ness to ex­pose other mem­bers of his syndicate, who be­came elu­sive fol­low­ing his ar­rest last year. It is said they used South African reg­is­tered pri­vate ve­hi­cles and touts to lure vic­tims into their cars.

Af­ter kid­nap­ping and de­tain­ing the trav­ellers at var­i­ous houses upon reaching Jo­han­nes­burg, the gang would turn vi­o­lent and would strip their hostages of var­i­ous valuables in­clud­ing money. They would then call the vic­tims’ rel­a­tives and de­mand money for their re­lease. The amounts which ranged from R3 000 would be paid through money agen­cies that in­clude Sho­prite, PEP, Spar or Cam­bridge stores.

Zim­babwe’s Con­sul Gen­eral to South Africa, Mr Bati­raishe Mukonoweshuro said de­spite the ar­rest of Brewer and his ac­com­plices they con­tin­ued to re­ceive re­ports of Zim­bab­weans who are be­ing ter­rorised in the same man­ner.

He urged Zim­bab­weans to al­ways use reg­is­tered pub­lic trans­port ve­hi­cles, es­pe­cially con­ven­tional buses when trav­el­ling to the neigh­bour­ing coun­try. “We would like to em­pha­sise the Gov­ern­ment of Zim­babwe’s grat­i­tude, to our hosts, for the con­tin­ual as­sis­tance ren­dered through the South African Po­lice Ser­vices (SAPS) and other law en­force­ment agen­cies in en­sur­ing that jus­tice pre­vails,” he said.

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