ZIMBABWE GOVERNMENT is considering imposing restrictions on the importation of ex-Japanese cars as some of them come with serious defects making the country a dumping ground for old vehicles, the Ministrer of Transport and Infrastructure Development, Joel Biggie Matiza, has said.
In an interview on the side-lines of the week-long Africa Transport Policy Programme (SSATP) annual general meeting which ended here on Friday, Minister Matiza, who was guest speaker at the conference, said while there is a high appetite for owning cars, citizens should be patient and embrace Government initiatives to ease transport problems such as the introduction of Zupco buses on rural and urban routes.
“There is an appetite to own cars which has seen a rise in importation of ex-Japanese cars. Time has come to legislate and monitor the number of years for each car before it is imported. There is really a need to look at the age of each car as most of them are grounded after two months because people can’t get spare parts,” said Minister Matiza.
He said defective ex-Japanese cars were partly to blame for road accidents.
“We can’t be a dumping ground for old cars and it’s something we have to work on with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce who are hands on on that. We as Transport feel the carnage on the roads is partly because of these cars because they are very old,” said Minister Matiza.
The Minister said the country now has in excess of 900 000 vehicles.
He implored Zimbabweans to be patient as Government rolls out Zupco buses to ease transport challenges both in the urban and rural areas. “As for urban transport nobody can say they are not experiencing joy in terms of their pockets because of Zupco whose numbers are increasing and are always packed. It’s a process that we started recently and it has proven that it’s a model that works and needs some fine tuning and making sure we have more buses,” said Minister Matiza.
He said the franchising arrangement with kombi operators was also working, and called for patience as Government is doing wonders despite illegal sanctions imposed by Western countries.
“People need to be patient when such good well-meaning projects are being availed by Government. We need to support such projects which we are doing under very difficult conditions as we are under sanctions and can’t be compared to those countries that have no sanctions. What
we are doing in that tight space is comparable to what others are doing,” the Minister said.
Minister Matiza said plans are underway for the Central Mechanical Engineering Department (CMED) to partner some local bus manufacturers so that coaches can be made locally.