Private commuter omnibus operators across the country have welcomed a government decision to allow them back on the road following their ban during the height of COVID-19 in 2020.
The ban was decreed by Zimbabwean authorities allegedly to curb the spread of the virus.
According to Statutory Instrument 213A of 2022 promulgated on 21 December 2022, the ban on kombis was been lifted with immediate effect.
In response to the development, Greater Harare Association of Commuter Omnibuses (GHACO) chairman, Ngoni Katsvairo urged the government to recognise associations as important players in instilling order in the transport sector. Katsvairo told ZimLive in an interview on Thursday:
We’re very grateful to the government for the official lifting of the ban although we had already gotten a reprieve from His Excellency’s 7 May public statement on opening up public transport.
We hope that going forward, associations will be empowered to put more order in the sector.
The ban had opened up avenues for Mishika shika and we now look forward to working together with the government to enforce and ensure the illegal operators are stopped from taking business from those who comply with government laws.
Tshova Mubaiwa Transport Cooperation marketing director Ndabazazo Mabunda said private commuter omnibus operations were highly affected by the ban.
They were forced to operate under the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) franchise, a move which they said was not ideal. ZimLive cites Mabuda as saying:
We really appreciate the government’s move to lift the ban. We have been going through a tough time but there was no one we could blame because we appreciate that Covid-19 affected a lot of people.
Now that all is normalizing, we are starting our operations from ground zero and we want to work tirelessly to make up for the lost time.
Most kombi drivers and conductors lost their jobs when the government decreed the ban.