JUST IN: Police issue strong warning

Inspector Abednico Ncube

Police in Bulawayo have issued a strong warning against textbook piracy kingpins, and public service vehicle operators mainly intercity buses as well as pirate taxis who continue to violate traffic rules and regulations resulting in chaos and disorder in the city centre.

In a brief but strongly worded statement, Bulawayo provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Abednico Ncube, said the law enforcement agents will soon descend on perpetrators without fear or favour.

He was speaking at the patrol vehicle commissioning ceremony for Whitestone and Mqabuko Heights Residents Association Neighbourhood Watch Committee ceremony, which was presided over by the Officer Commanding Bulawayo, Commissioner Wiklef Makamache, on Friday.

Textbook piracy has become big business in the city centre with the Zimbabwe Intellectual Property Office (Zipo) Chief Registrar, Mr Willie Mushayi, saying this was a well-funded organized criminal operation.

Zipo is a section of the Department of Deeds and Intellectual Property and is administered by the Ministry of Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.

It was established in 1897 as the Deeds Office with a secondary function as an intellectual property registry.

Insp Ncube said it was only a matter of time before the pirate kingpins were accounted for as piracy, in whatever form or shape, remains an offence.Last week, police officers were deployed to the city centre where they conducted some raids and arrests of vendors selling pirated books.

“I believe members of the public have realised that police in Bulawayo have been carrying out some raids and have arrested quite a number of people who are selling pirated books,” he said.

“We warn those who are into printing books that are having copyright and are protected that as police we are not going to stop until this scourge has been eliminated,” said Insp Ncube.

He implored members of the public to buy books from registered shops who will then remit royalties to the authors.

“Our operation is ongoing and we have scored a lot of success in terms of arrests, recovering, impounding or taking into custody the culprits and the books are now being used as exhibits,” said Insp Ncube.

“The arrested will be appearing in court to face the charges as piracy in any form is an offence so people should take heed of our caution.”

Members of the public have, however, blamed the stiff prices of original books as the reason they are resorting to pirated ones whose prices are sometimes even less than half the price of original books.

In some instances, the prices, especially of Advanced Level science textbooks, are higher than the school fees charged by some schools, particularly day schools.

On the increasing cases of traffic rules and regulations violations in the city centre mainly by intercity buses especially those going to Harare and Plumtree, Insp Ncube said the police have noted that with great concern but the long arm of the law will soon be catching up with the offenders.

“We have noted with great concern, the lawlessness that is being done by intercity buses and even local buses in the city centre, we want to warn them that the long arm of the law is catching up with them soon, so people should revert to the designated parking, dropping and loading of passenger bays,” said Insp Ncube.

“We don’t want people to be caught by surprise but we are giving this warning even to the commuters, they should seriously consider going back to the designated places provided for by the Bulawayo City Council.

“We won’t need to explain anything but we are telling them that they should go back to places, which are designated to load, transport, and drop passengers, the Central Business District (CBD) must be cleared immediately, of unnecessary parking and blocking of roads, let those doing this be guided accordingly.” Chronicle.

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