Zim Government to soon unveil an electronic traffic management system.
Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo reportedly told the Parliamentary Committee on Transport and Infrastructure Development that he had directed Police Commissioner-General Dr Augustine Chihuri to remove all unnecessary roadblocks.
The glee turned into gloom as Deputy Minister Abedingwa Mguni clarified the meaning of standard roadblocks that would be reduced. Minister Chombo said the move was Government’s response to concerns raised by tourists and motorists over high police presence on the roads.
“My ministry is concerned about non-compliance by public service vehicles, which have also contributed to a large number of road traffic accidents, whose permits, certificates of fitness, drivers’ licences and route authority permits are generated by both RMT and VID.
“The ZRP will not be able to verify these documents with their hand held gadgets until such a time when RMT and VID have been integrated into CVR, Zinara, Zimra, VTS and ZRP Traffic. “Full integration of these systems will help reduce corruption among ZRP officers, as well as the number of roadblocks our roads,” he said.
He further announced that Government would soon unveil an electronic traffic management system. The system would integrate all transport stakeholders like the police, Vehicle Inspection Department, Zimbabwe National Roads Administration, Road Motor Transport and Central Vehicle Registry (CVR).
This would, he said, bring to an end to traffic management challenges. Minister Chombo said the police is moving towards full a computerisation system using hand held devices to verify the authenticity of documents.
These would include drivers’ licences, Zinara licensing, vehicle insurance, ZBC licensing, permits, transit and cross-border receipts. “It will not be possible for the ZRP to electronically verify documents generated by the VID and RMT. In addition, verification of these documents usually takes a long time, thereby causing delays,” he said.
The Home Affairs Minister further expressed concern on the rampant corruption by traffic officers and the general outcry on the number of roadblocks. Deputy Minister Mguni later said besides corruption, Government wanted to promote the ease of doing business and dealing with issues to do with delays on the roads.
The argument, is therefore that, full integration of these systems will help in reducing corruption among police details and the number of roadblocks on the roads. Hence, the ministry wants to introduce the speedy integration of all traffic management systems. The implementation of the Electronic Traffic Management System would include the installation of integrated centres, deployment of mobile hand-held traffic enforcement devices, speed cameras and an updated vehicle system.
In defining the “standard roadblocks” and why they are mounted, Deputy Minister Mguni, in an interview, said there are three different types in Zimbabwe. “The common is a standard roadblock and, internationally, you are required to set-up visible security barriers such as drums that are painted with visible colours and reflectors.
“They include booms that can stop vehicles with signs that will alert drivers who are about 80 metres away. “Everything should be there including the blue lights because some of these can stretch into the night. “And that roadblock, the standard one, should be manned by more than four traffic officers.”
At the spot checks, he said, police will profile an area where there is always or suspected criminal activity. Police would be in these areas to check whether there are any crimes happening or just showing their visibility, he said. “This is to make sure that crime ridden areas are cleaned up. These are not permanent, you go there, and hit, unexpectedly,” the deputy minister said.
The third, he said, is the highway patrol. “The highway patrol usually has cars that will be driving along the highways and detecting the driving trends on the roads. “They will be checking defective cars and they can stop drivers who will be misbehaving.”
The highway patrol officers, he added, would also be on the lookout for criminals and even trucks with suspicious cargo. “These, in the new system, would be linked to main centres where they can check on registration numbers for verification and vetting,” he said.