|Masvingo Prov Asst . Comm (Admin) Florence Marume, Minister of Transport Felix Mhona and Police National Spokes person Asst . Comm Nyathi at the accident scene recently.|
Masvingo and Zvishavane Vehicle Inspectorate Department (VID) depots are playing the blame game after details emerged that the Toyota Wish that was involved in the Mhandamabwe road carnage which claimed 20 lives recently had been impounded and corrupt officials may have released it in unclear circumstances.
The Toyota Wish, which was carrying 10 people had reportedly been booked twice by the Vehicle Inspectorate Department (VID) but mysteriously found itself on the road.
Blame game seems to be in play as both the Masvingo and Zvishavane are denying that they had booked the vehicle twice, despite the matter being confirmed by the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development Felix Mhona on July 9 when he visited the accident scene.
Mhona on July 9 visited the accident scene and said he also wanted to know how the Toyota Wish found its way to the road when it had been impounded, as he had been told there were VID papers to that effect.
“As you have heard from the VID officials, the Toyota Wish was not supposed to be on the road as they are in possession of papers that proves that it was supposed to be in their custody as they had impounded it. We want to know how the car found its way on the road as it was supposed to be at the respective VID Depot,” Mhona said.
When contacted for comment, VID National Director Dr Johannes Pedzapasi referred the reporter to VID Masvingo Depot manager Paulos Banda for finer details.
“You can get in touch with Banda who is the Masvingo manager so that they check their records,” said Dr Pedzapasi.
When TellZim News contacted Banda, he said they were not the ones who had impounded the car, directing all questions to VID Zvishavane Depot.
“We received the report from the Zvishavane Depot, so you can contact Zvishavane Depot manager. He is the one who can comment,” said Banda.
Zvishavane Depot manager Godfrey Mashoko however denied ever booking the vehicle and said Masvingo Depot was answerable to the case.
“That car falls under the jurisdiction of Masvingo, I just accompanied them to the accident scene. They are responsible and they are the ones who took the car. If they keep on
denying it, tell us then we tell the directors,” said Mashoko.
Calls have been made for heads to roll and national police spokesperson, Asst. comm Paul Nyathi last week said they are not going to leave no stone unturned to expose how the two vehicles got past checkpoints when they were overloaded.
However, Nyathi on July 15, 2021, said he cannot give a timeframe for the investigation which he said was still in progress.
“The investigation is still ongoing. We can’t give you the exact dates of conclusion but when we are done with investigations, we will let you know,” said Nyathi.
Drivers of pirate Toyota Wish vehicles usually travel at high speeds as they will be racing against their daily monetary targets.
Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ) Director Clifford Gobo expressed disappointment in the conduct of road users and called for compliance to the law by all citizens so as to reduce road accidents.
“Only roadworthy vehicles must be on the roads and the passengers themselves must reject to be overloaded because they also have a responsibility to protect themselves. The transporters should be good citizens who follow the rules. If your vehicle is deemed not roadworthy by VID then we mustn’t see it on the road,” said Gobo.
Earlier this year three VID officials were arrested in Karoi for allegedly parceling out 26 provisional licenses to prospective drivers who had allegedly failed the mandatory written examinations.
This has allegedly spread out to the unwarranted release of vehicles at various depots across the country.
Toyota Wish vehicles are now a common feature on the Masvingo-Mbalabala highway and many times these vehicles will be overloaded, mixing goods and passengers.