BULAWAYO, Thursday, August 29, 1991 — Travellers to and from South Africa were yesterday stranded in Bulawayo and Beitbridge as authorities clamped down on the long distance taxis following a number of incidents in which Zimbabwean drivers were reported to have been beaten up by the minibus operators.
Several passengers stranded at the Bulawayo City Hall, where they board the taxis, told The Chronicle yesterday that a member of the Zimbabwe Long Distance Taxi Association, which represents the operators of the taxis, had told them that they could no longer go to South Africa because the kombis were barred by Zimbabwean authorities.
Most seemed to think that the recent incident in which a Shu-Shine bus driver was alleged to have been beaten up by members of the South African Long Distance Taxi Association in that country had forced the authorities to take the drastic step of preventing all foreign taxis from operating in Zimbabwe.
The people who seemed to be most affected by the new measures were those who had bought return tickets in South Africa. They said they could not find alternative means of transport and also expressed fear of losing their money.
One of the travellers, Cde Livion Ndlovu, said he had paid about R260 for a return ticket and he could not find alternative transport as he stood to lose the return fare he had paid. Another traveller, Cde Marthy Dube, expressed the hope that the Government would talk to the taxi operators and reach an agreement soon. She said the taxis were providing a vital service for Zimbabwean passengers.
When The Chronicle visited the pick-up point it found some local pirate taxis already cashing in on the absence of the long distance taxis by carrying passengers as far as Beitbridge for $80 a person.