Over 140k kombi workers lose their jobs. Kombis were banned as a way to curb the spread of the coronavirus that was taking its toll on the country. Katsvairo claims Kombis owned by powerful people are however still operating.
The secretary-general of Greater Harare Commuter Omnibus Association (GHACO), Ngoni Katsvairo has said over 140 000 workers in the transport sector in the capital lost their jobs after the government banned commuter omnibuses (Kombi).
Katsvairo told the media recently that 49 000 kombis, each employing a driver, conductor and a tout, were banished by the government from operating in Harare. Katsvairo said: There were 50 000 kombis in Harare, about 49 000 have been parked for more than a year now. As a result, many livelihoods were affected.
Katsvairo added that GHACO members had lost US$12.8 million since the beginning of the national lockdown in March last year due to the banishment of their kombis by the government.
He implored the government to make it possible for commuter omnibus operators to earn a living legally and improve the transport situation in the city of Harare. He said:
A majority of people in retirement had invested their savings in commuter omnibus transport businesses.
At present, if a kombi under Zupco cashes in $15 000 per day, they are paid $4 000 in addition to the fuel of $4 000. The remainder of $7 000 should be channelled towards the maintenance of the vehicles but it’s not happening.
Some are suffering silently because they cannot air out their voices and it is really sad. The government should also realise that the absence of kombis has worsened the transport situation in Harare, operators affiliated with Zupco face challenges of delay in payment and in the end, they won’t be able to service their vehicles.
The government is reluctant to allow kombis to return on the road saying they cause chaos in towns as the majority of them are unregistered and use undesignated terminus.
The Ministry of Local Government and Public Works announced earlier that kombis registered and operating under the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO), a government parastatal, would be allowed on the road.
Commuter omnibus operators are, however, unwilling to lease their vehicles to ZUPCO saying returns are too insignificant. Resultantly, Zupco is reported to have less than 500 kombis affiliated to it down from 12 000 before the onset of Covid-19-induced lockdown.
Source – Pindula News
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