GOVERNMENT has urged public transport operators to continue ferrying people to their work stations and ignore rowdy mobs trying to cause chaos.
Yesterday opposition-linked rioters blocked roads, stoned or burnt vehicles and also blocked people on their way to work.
Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joel Biggie Matiza said Government would not hesitate to revoke licences of transporters who deliberately stop carrying people.
Minister Matiza also told our Harare Bureau yesterday that public transport operators should desist from hiking fares.
His remarks come in the wake of riots by shadowy groups sympathetic to the opposition that left a trail of destruction in Harare and Bulawayo.
Minister Matiza said transport operators were being cushioned from the recent increase in fuel prices through a tax rebate being worked out by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.
“As Government, we urge public transport operators to continue carrying people doing their daily businesses,” said Minister Matiza.
“Some operators may deliberately choose not to carry people and as Government I want to make it clear that we will not hesitate to take stiffer decisions, including revoking their operating licences,” he said.
“We are also aware that there are some unscrupulous operators who are already hiking fares. We urge them to desist from that behaviour. The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development is working out a rebate to cover for that increase. What is important to us as Government is to ensure that people continue to do their businesses without any obstruction including shortage of public transport,” he said.
Transport operators yesterday were charging the commuting public as high as $3 for a trip from locations as close as Kambuzuma and Highfield to the Central Business District.
Members of the public were seen in the afternoon walking from the CBD to their respective locations.
In a statement on Monday, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said: “Cognisant of the need to prevent generalised price increases for goods and services following fuel price adjustments, Government has decided to provide relief through refund of excise duty on fuel consumed by registered businesses in the following sectors: manufacturing, mining agriculture and transport. The relief provided will be equivalent to the difference between the prevailing rates of excise duty and the rates that were applicable prior to this change.”
Prof Ncube said those who had increased their prices since the latest fuel price review on Saturday should revert to the pre-12 January, 2019 prices given that Government had already put in place price adjustment compensatory framework through refunds.