The decision to compel all urban transport operators to ply their trade under the control or oversight of Zupco derives from the National Development Strategy 1 where it is noted that public transport in cities must have a single operational controller to be effective, Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo has said.
Minister Moyo said studies have shown that an urban transport system with multiple sources of operational control does not work in metropolitan cities but operators ought to run under one entity or franchise, such as Zupco.
He was speaking on Monday evening during a Current Affairs Star FM radio programme aimed at unpacking Government’s development agenda.
Concerns had been raised that the use of Zupco alone promotes monopoly instead of encouraging competition that should lead to greater efficiency.
“Our studies about transport in the urban areas show that competition creates chaos. The bus operators, once they are many in any urban area, it creates chaos. I remember when I was Secretary for Local Government and I met colleagues in South Africa, they said if you introduce these multifaceted kombis into your urban area system, you are going to bring chaos that you will regret. But we did it, and we are now regretting,”
said Minister Moyo.
“Now we are reorganising many urban metropolitan cities. They are now trying to organise such that transportation in urban areas has to be well organised. If you are to bring investment, you do not bring investment where there is chaos and our road system in the urban areas had become chaotic. “As Government we are determined to make sure that as we implement Vision 2030 and as an upper middle class country, let’s re-organise. This is what we find in Africa and everywhere else in the world.”
There were also inquiries on whether buses that were recently bought for Zupco and commissioned by President Mnangagwa were owned by the firm or belonged to third parties. Minister Moyo said those buses were bought by CMED, an arm under the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development but were operating under the Zupco franchise.
“What we have said is, Government, in its reform programme in the Transitional Stabilisation Programme, we analysed that we want to partially privatise Zupco. In the interim, instead of buying buses and making them a property of Zupco, they have been bought by Government through CMED; they belong to CMED which is an institution under the Ministry of Transport. They are the owners of all those Zupco buses that have come. We are franchising buses from Zupco. The major one that we recently bought are owned by CMED and it is franchising them under Zupco just like those other kombis and buses. We will be taking papers to Cabinet to make sure that in the partial privatisation, when it is finalised, the form of the company that will partially be privatised will emerge. What Zupco ends up owning can either be equity coming from the private sector or equity coming from the Government. That is the private partial privatisation we are looking at,”
said Minister Moyo.