Ray Bande in MUTARE
Driving schools are an essential link between learner drivers and officials in the well-organised syndicates that corruptly issue learner licences and certificates of competence in the road tests, Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Felix Mhona said last week as he announced plans to curb and eliminate the corruption.
Checks in Mutare found that a prospective driver has to part ways with US$60 to corruptly obtain the learners’ licence and, paying through the driving school instructors, part with another US$150 for a smooth passage in the road test.
Minister Mhona told a strategic planning workshop in Mutare that the involvement of driving schools, including the State-owned CMED, in the well-orchestrated corruption syndicates were part of the counter tactics being used to continue corrupt practices.
Digressing from his prepared speech, Minister Mhona said: “It is sad that we still have elements within the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development who are working tirelessly to sabotage the aims of the computerisation system in the acquisition of driver’s licences by members of the public.
“Even after computerising the system, we still have counter tactics being improvised. The sad reality is that the syndicates now make use of driving schools, including the State-owned CMED, to pass on the loot. We are dealing with a cancerous situation. It is endemic.”
As part of fulfilling Government’s devolution agenda, his ministry would soon roll out the VID’s computerised learner driver’s licencing system throughout every district of the country.
“Under the ZimTIS programme, we continue to ride on the successes of computerisation of the vehicle licencing system which was midwifed by the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara).
“We have registered successes in decentralising the VID’s computerised learner driver’s licencing system, with aspiring drivers now getting instant computer-generated results.
“We hope to roll out the scheme throughout every district of the country soon. The system has the effect of reducing human interface in the process of driver licencing, with the view to reduce corruption and improve competencies to reduce incidences of road carnage.
“I am also happy that some progress was registered in terms of road traffic management. We caused enactment of Statutory Instrument 119 of 2023 on licencing of drivers regulations. I am delighted that new drivers’ licences are being issued since the day we launched it.
“Further, interventions were registered in form of Statutory Instrument 118 of 2023 on speed limiting and monitoring devices regulations,” said Minister Mhona.
He commended efforts to bring back sanity on the roads initiated under the traffic operation dubbed
“Let’s Tame the Traffic Jungle Together 2”.
“We are also grateful of the multi-stakeholder road traffic management initiatives in our urban centres in the form of the traffic operation dubbed “Let’s Tame the Traffic Jungle Together- Phase 2” which commenced in September 2023.
“The operation brought together several Government departments and it is encouraging to note that most urban centres are now trafficable,” he said.
Addressing the same gathering, Minister of State for Manicaland and Devolution Advocate Misheck Mugadza thanked the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development for championing the resuscitation of a number of roads in Manicaland but wanted more priority for some long dragging projects such as the Birchnough Bridge-Murambinda Road.
“The transport sector is catalytic to our national vision — Vision 2020. We applaud the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development for championing the resuscitation of a number of major roads in Manicaland but we also remind the ministry to pay due attention to some major and emotive projects such as the Chipinge-Mt Selinda and the Birchnough Bridge-Murambinda roads as well as the Chrismass Pass bypass road,” said Advocate Mugadza.
Several chairmen of boards of directors as well as heads of parastatals that fall under the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development are attending the three-day strategic planning workshop in Mutare.