The government has reversed the decision by the City of Harare to ban commuter omnibuses (kombis) from the central business district (CBD). It said that it had reversed the directive because there had been no prior consultation with residents before the directive was implemented. The City of Harare has directed that kombis should stop using three major ranks, Copa Cabana, Market Square and Charge Office. Instead, the kombis were directed to use only Coventry Road Rank and Seke Road Rank which is quite a distance from the CBD.
To cater for the distance the authorities had announced that only Zupco, CAG Traveller and Mukumba Brother’s buses would be allowed to shuttle people into the CBD. However, this did not go down well with most commuters who did not feel inclined to pay an extra $0.30 for a one way trip on the shuttle buses and chose to walk instead. This is reported to have resulted in many hours of lost productivity.
However, the government seems to have heeded the cries of the commuters and reversed this clearly ill-thought and poorly implemented move.
We publish the statement in full below:
STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT
PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING, ON HARARE METROPOLITAN URBAN TRANSPORTATION DISRUPTIONS.
The Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, in its capacity as the authority in charge of the administration of the Urban Councils Act [Chapter 29:50), regrets the hurried decision taken by the Harare City Council to immediately ban commuter omnibuses and kombis from entering the Central Business District without first
providing a viable and inexpensive alternative for the commuting public to use.
Accordingly, and in full view of the decentralized function that the
Harare City Council would ordinarily exercise by legislative delegation, I,
as the responsible Minister, hereby reverse and rescind with immediate
effect the said decision and subsequent announcement by the City
banning commuter omnibuses and kombis access to the Central
Business District until such time that proper and sustainable transit
arrangements are put in place for workers and the travelling public. My
directive is issued in terms of Section 314 of the Urban Councils Act
My directive has been issued in light of the fact that the Council’s decision and action are not in the interest of the inhabitants of the Council Area and the Harare Metropolitan Province, to the extent that they hinder free travel by tourists and the general public, and injure the general national and public interest. Accordingly, I have conveyed the reversal and the rescission to the City Council in writing. Kindly note that my directive does not cover unregistered vehicles unlawfully engaged in commuter services such as “mushikashikas“. Equally, the directive does not condone other illegal activities such as mending in undesignated places, littering and illegal money changing. These must keep off the streets as required by law.
As the responsible Minister, I apologize to all Harare Residents, Residents of the Harare Metropolitan Province and our valued visitors for the disruptions and inconveniences already suffered. Further, I inform all Residents of the Metropolitan Province that the renewal of the City and she local authorities, along with the orderly restructuring of the City’s public transport system, will be properly undertaken by Central Government. All stakeholders, including transport operators, businesses, residents and vendors, through their respective representatives, will be consulted for smooth execution.
Already, significant steps towards developing a Transport Master Plan for the Metropolitan Province of Harare have been undertaken.
Honourable J.G. Moyo Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, 22/02/18