GOVERNMENT will confiscate and auction all vehicles impounded from motorists who would have failed to register them at the expiry of a 30-day grace period while unlicensed drivers face a long jail term under new measures to regularise registration and curb accidents.
Last week, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development said in a notice that all owners of unregistered vehicles were now being given a 30-day notice from 23 June to register their vehicles, failure of which they would be impounded.
Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development Dr Obert Mpofu speaking in Bulawayo, said impounded vehicles would not be returned to their owners even if they tried to register them after the expiry of the notice.
"Information we have is that there are over 500,000 cars that are not registered and are travelling on our roads. Some say there are over a million, but officially we know the figure is around 500,000.
"Those are the cars that are causing accidents on the roads and taking our people's lives. Such vehicles should be removed from the roads and if anyone is caught with an unregistered car, it should be impounded and not returned to the owner.
"Our call as a ministry is that vehicle owners whose cars are not registered should come forward with their cars and regularise things," he said.
Dr Mpofu added: "Those unregistered vehicles are also being driven by people who don't have licences. If such people are caught they should go to jail for a long time."
He said he was working on introducing a computerised central vehicle registration system that would help in dealing with counterfeiting of vehicle registration documents and reduce the number of unregistered vehicles on the country's roads.
He also warned people driving without drivers' licences saying if caught such people would face jail time.
"A computerised central registration system is now required to help us reduce the loopholes that are found in the manual system. I'm glad that the ground has already been laid by Zinara and the system will be in full operation soon. It will help us a lot in reducing cases of forged vehicle registration documents. I should also warn people driving without licences that if they are caught they will be sent away for a very long time," he said.
Dr Mpofu also said his ministry would not go back on increasing toll fees as Cabinet had already approved the proposal. He said his ministry was also working on increasing the number of tollgates along the country's highways as it strives to raise adequate funds to maintain the country's road network.
"Cabinet has already approved our proposal to increase toll fees and an increase should be coming soon. Our counterparts in South Africa believe our toll fees are ridiculously low and we have to seriously look into that.
"We need to raise money to repair our country's road network and the current revenue from tollgates is not enough to do that, so we need to adjust the fees a little bit so that we can achieve our objectives.
"We also envisage to increase the number of tollgates along our highways and roads as we strive to boost our revenue inflows. Some of the tollgates on our roads are not of the expected standard and will need to be replaced with toll plazas, and work on that should be starting anytime soon," he said.
Turning to the proposed ban of private commuter omnibuses, Dr Mpofu said his ministry was going ahead with the plan and would not be deterred.
He said the ban was in the interest of protecting members of the public from reckless and rude commuter omnibus drivers who do not care about the welfare of the travelling public.
"We will not go back on the ban. We want to phase them out and introduce State-owned buses that will ferry people at even lower fares. Public transport drivers do not respect their passengers and some don't respect life. They are reckless and to protect our people from that we have to phase the kombis out.
"Kombis continue to kill our people on the roads and we cannot just stand there and watch, as Government we have to act. Most of the kombis are not insured and in case of accidents people do not get compensation for their injuries," he said.
In terms of the Vehicle Registration and Licensing Act (Chapter 13:14) Section 6 (1 and 2), all vehicles should be registered with the Central Vehicle Registry.
Motorists are required to pay $160 for vehicle registration and $60 each year for a vehicle licence disc.