A Kombi Conductor protests the police operation by hanging out dangerously through a window
THE fight between Harare commuter omnibus operators and traffic cops has spilled into the High Court with the former seeking an order barring the smashing of windscreens, impounding of vehicles and the unjustified assault and arrest of kombi crews.
An association for Kuwadzana, Waterfalls and Crowborough commuter omnibus operators is seeking to stop the police and Harare City Council from harassing its members.
The lawsuit comes in the wake of numerous complaints against police roadblocks and alleged corruption on the road.
The association is chaired by Mr Joshua Siwela.
It claims that police and the municipality were harassing and victimising its membership.
On Wednesday, the membership’s lawyers Chara and Associates, filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court to stop the alleged harassment.
Justice Andrew Mutema, who presided over the matter, ruled that it lacked urgency. This means the association will now proceed through a normal court application.
The application cited the Police Commissioner-General, officer-in-charge police traffic in Harare and Harare City Council as respondents.
The association claims it started using the rank at the corner of Harare Street and Albion since 2005 without any disturbances.
But last Tuesday, the municipality and the police embarked on a joint blitz on kombis for flouting road regulations.
The membership claims windscreens were smashed using batons and vehicles were impounded for no good reasons.
They said their documents were in order, but drivers and conductors were arrested and fined.
It was also indicated that police and municipal officers assaulted some drivers and conductors for no reason.
The operators said the “harassment” was costing them heavily.
Although changes to the urban planning laws can be effected at anytime, the association said there was need for a notice instead of just pouncing on the unsuspecting operators.
“While we appreciate any changes in town planning laws, it is important that a formal notice be given and not harassment as we believe we are operating lawfully,” the papers read.