POLICE have issued a stern warning to rank marshals and touts who have taken control of bus terminuses in Harare, causing chaos and disrupting business operations.
In a bid to restore order, police are guaranteeing a safe and efficient public transportation system for the city’s residents and visitors.
Addressing stakeholders at a Public Transport Stakeholders meeting in the capital on Tuesday, the Officer Commanding Harare Province, Commissioner Wonder Tembo, expressed the police’s disapproval of such behaviour.
Commissioner Tembo emphasised that the police do not endorse or tolerate the prevailing misconduct at bus ranks.
“As officer commanding Harare, I want to mention that as police we don’t condone such kind of behaviour that is prevailing at various bus ranks.
“That is all the time we are having running battles with people who claim that they own certain ranks,” he said.
Reports have surfaced indicating that the four major bus termini in Harare’s central business district have fallen under the control of rank marshals, who are extorting substantial sums of money from bus operators.
These marshals impose fees on operators for every trip passing through the rank, resulting in significant financial losses for the transport industry.
Commissioner Tembo urged the City of Harare to take immediate action and implement effective operations to combat the rising cases of business disruption and disorder at the bus terminuses.
He called upon the city authorities to develop comprehensive strategies to address the issue, assuring them of the police’s full support and cooperation.
“I urge you to come up with an operation and as law enforcement agents we will support you and we will come in our numbers to help you.
“We don’t want to be the initiators of the job that is supposed to be done by you (Council). Nobody in Harare owns a bus terminus, there is a need to come up with a solid position as stakeholders to deal with this issue”.
He urged operators to desist from paying the supposed rank marshals money for them to operate at certain ranks.
“Don’t give them money and if they insist we are just a call away. Don’t be intimidated, the law will take its course.
“We are aware that many of these rank marshals hide behind political parties, but we have never received a call from any political party or Government questioning why we have arrested certain troublemakers.”
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Passenger Transport Organisation (ZPTO) has highlighted the urgent need to revamp the bus termini to meet basic standards, making the work of the police, council, and bus operators more manageable.
ZPTO chairman Mr Sam Nhanhanga said improved bus termini would alleviate congestion and protect drivers and passengers from harassment by rank marshals.
“As ZPTO, one of our primary concerns is the condition of the rank facilities. Ensuring passenger and driver safety starts at the bus terminus. We want to guarantee the safety of passengers and our drivers at all times.
“The bus termini need significant improvements, as this will facilitate the operations of bus operators, the council, and the police. It will also contribute to a conducive business environment for all parties involved,” he said.