City of Harare has conceded that it is illegal for them to hold clamped vehicles for two weeks but says vehicles can spent up to a month undergoing a vetting exercise from different law enforcement agents at its central stores.
The city’s legal manager Mr Kandemiri who was speaking at a meeting aimed at thwarting Mshika-shika recently said there was no by-law which allowed the city to detain vehicles for 14 days.
He was responding to a question asked by a council traffic official who wanted to know if the city could extend the time a pirate taxi can be released from the city’s central stores.
“It is not legal for council to hold vehicles for 14 days but vehicles can spent up to a month in the central stores undergoing vetting processes from police, The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and the Zimbabwe National Roads Authority.
He said the city was taken to court recently for taking too long to release vehicles and it won the urgent chamber application after arguing that the release of vehicles could be delayed because upon a vehicle being impounded there was a long vetting process which included stakeholders such as the police and the Zimbabwe National Road Authority.
Twenty-six commuter omnibus operators recently lost an urgent chamber application in which they wanted the court to order the Harare City Council to accept fines for their impounded vehicles and to interdict the local authority from forcing them to pay two weeks’ storage charges.
The operators, led by Mr Crispen Audrea, had filed an urgent chamber app at the High Court citing the City of Harare as the first respondent, public safety director as second and officer commanding traffic Harare Municipal Police as the third respondent.
In the application, the kombi operators argued that their vehicles had been impounded by the City of Harare for various offences and wanted them released.
The kombi operators argued that the city was refusing to accept their fines and that they were being made to pay fines after 14 days during which they accumulated storage fees of US a day and that that they were issued with tickets without being informed of the offences they had committed.
The city said tickets were issued in circumstances where a commuter omnibus driver committed an offence and drives away to evade arrest.