BULAWAYO, Saturday, September 28, 1991 — More than 300 people have been arrested in Bulawayo in the last nine months for using forged emergency taxi permits and operating without permits. Police say they are stepping up checks to stop the racket.
The police Press Liaison Officer in Bulawayo, Inspector Abisaia Nyandoro, said the crime was on the increase but the police were stepping up checks on the racket, which involves the sale of permits to private car owners by some bona fide operators. Some emergency taxi drivers were using permits belonging to other people or had no permits at all, he said.
He said 333 people had been arrested since January although the number could be higher as statistics from some police stations in Bulawayo were not readily available. Insp Nyandoro said some of the first offenders among those arrested were fined $150 each. Cases involving people who had been fined for similar offences before were still pending trial, he said.
It is understood that the permits are difficult to get, especially in the case of new applicants. A certificate of fitness has to be obtained from the Vehicle Inspection Department before a permit can be obtained from the Controller of Road Motor Transportation in Harare.
Many people who had vehicles which were not in order resorted to buying permits off the black market.
Some bona fide operators are said to possess more than one permit, which they are said to obtain using other people’s names.
Insp Nyandoro said it was an offence to have many ETs under one name. The office of the Controller of Road Motor Transportation in Harare said a valid emergency taxi permit should carry a date stamp and a seal. Alterations on the permit had to be accompanied by the signature of the officer who made the changes and a date stamp above or below the alterations.