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Making Sense of Zimbabwe Lockdown 2021

Big Sky #Zimbabwe Lockdown 2021

As the mud clears after clarifications and final statements have been issued by ZRP and the various Ministry’s, Big Sky attempts to make sense of Zimbabwe Lockdown 2021. We originally published on the issue in April 2020 (https://bigsky.co.zw/update-covid19-national-lockdown-legislation/ ) and given the numerous amendments to the Public Health statutory instruments since, we offer our views on Zimbabwe Lockdown 2021.

TRAVEL BY ESSENTIAL SERVICES WORKERS

As before, workers in the Essential Services sector are to carry copies of the Lockdown Exemption Letter issued to their company/organisation, and a letter on the company/organisation’s letterhead:

Lockdown Exemption Letter:

According to the “Final Revised Ministry Statement, 4 January 2021”: “Companies in the manufacturing, distribution, wholesale, retail, commerce, tourism and hospitality industry are advised to make use of the Lockdown Exemption letters previously issued by Ministries of Industry and Commerce and Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry for the next seven (7) working days, during which companies should renew their exemption letters.”

And: “Regarding the Tourism and Hospitality industry, Agriculture and Mining the companies in these sectors should get their Exemption letters from their respective parent Ministries.”

The press statement issued by ZRP on 4 January 2021, states: “Movement and exemption letters will now be issued by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce”

This implies that “Do It Yourself” letters/affidavits stamped by ZRP will not be accepted at the checkpoints, and only a Ministry issued letter will be accepted. Given the massive pressure and (unhealthy) congestion at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce offices, we expect other entities to approach their respective ministries, including Tourism, Agriculture, etc. (Also see Notes, below).

Employer’s Letter:

According to the “Final Revised Ministry Statement, 4 January 2021”, the employers’ letter should include:

  • Employee name and ID number
  • The points of commute
  • Company line of business/products and state how that is covered by the Statutory Instruments
  • Working hours, and shifts where necessary
  • The letter should be signed by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or Managing Director (MD)

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) in another of their very useful updates, published a suggested template for the employer’s letter. (For a copy of this CZI update, email sean@bigsky.co.zw).

INTER-CITY TRAVEL DURING ZIMBABWE LOCKDOWN 2021

Inter-city travel during Zimbabwe Lockdown 2021 is still restricted. ZUPCO remains the sole authorised public transporter. Members of the public can still only travel on essential service and must carry documentation or similar proving the purpose of the trip. Where practical, we recommend not more than one person in a vehicle, to avoid the appearance of ‘holidaying’. If more than one passenger is travelling, all must be carrying ‘letters’.

Checkpoints typically accept up to 4 passengers in a vehicle with both front and rear seats, and 2 passengers in a pick-up/truck with front seats only. Every occupant of the vehicle must wear a mask.

HOLIDAY AND RECREATIONAL TRAVEL

The Health Minister’s public announcement on 2 January, 2021, said, “Tourist facilities and national parks will operate as before subject to the usual health precautions”. Given the Health Minister’s ruling it is a given that tourists must travel to their holiday destination, and the great majority will travel by road.

However, the continued operation of the “tourist facilities and national parks” is not explicitly provided for in SI 10/2021. We therefore advise domestic tourists travelling by road to carry copies of your accommodation bookings AND a copy of the Health Minister’s “Lockdown Statement, 2 January, 2021”. (For a copy, email sean@bigsky.co.zw).

AIRPORT DROP-OFF’S AND COLLECTIONS

Travelling to the airport, carry a hardcopy of the passenger’s air ticket. On the return journey, present the passenger’s passport and boarding pass. This also provides for airport trips during curfew hours. As the source you can quote Public Relations – Civil Aviation Authority.

TRAVEL BY DOMESTIC STAFF

Once again there is no reference in any Statutory Instrument, ZRP or ministerial statement to travel by domestic staff or any persons employed by a “non-commercial entity”. As previous, we recommend employers prepare a letter based on the formal employer’s letter (see above), supported by an affidavit stating the purpose of the travel and stamped at your local police station.

NOTES

There is no reference in SI 10/2020 making it a requirement for motorists to carry letters stamped by ZRP. Based on inter-city travel during the 2020 lockdown periods, provided the motorists’ documents were in order, ZRP stamped letters were neither requested nor expected. However, given the pressure on the various ministries, we understand employers and travellers are approaching police stations with a letter and supporting affidavit, and being assisted.

Under no circumstances should you pay for either Exemption Letters or police stamps.

These notes are provided for guidance only and should be read with the Public Health Order (COVID-19) and subsequent amendments. We welcome any feedback, kindly email sean@bigsky.co.zw.

ZRP CONTACT NUMBERS

To report cases of harassment and attempts to solicit bribes at lockdown checkpoints or at police station level, contact:

ZRP Police General Head Quarters – Internal Investigations. 2005 Fife Avenue, corner Enterprise Road, Harare: (0242) 702083 / 707702 (Office hours only. After office hours call PGHQ, number below).

ZRP Police General Head Quarters, Harare: (0242) 703631 (24-hour)

 – PGHQ, Harare Anti-Corruption members will take calls from all over the country, referring you to the most appropriate personnel in your area, where necessary. Senior members of the Zimbabwe National Army are coordinating anti-corruption efforts with their counterparts in PGHQ.

ZRP Provincial Operations, Matabeleland: (0292) 885479 (24-hour)

ZRP Provincial Public Relations: (0292) 260358 (Office hours) – Contact for assistance with incidents throughout Matabeleland

Thank you,

#stayathomestaysafe

Sean Q. and the BIG SKY TEAM

Acknowledgments:
Howard Dean, publisher of BIZ Bulletin and Labour Relations Information Service. Subscription inquiries to aquamor@mweb.co.zw

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI). (024) 2251496

Optima Legal (Pvt) Ltd. Visit www.optimalegal.co.zw

To download copies of all COVID-19 statutory instruments and amendments, visit https://www.veritaszim.net/node/4120

Published 06 January 2021

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Number Plates in Zimbabwe

number plates | Zimbabwe | Big Sky Supplies

An appeal to ZRP and the Ministry of Transport to show consideration …
There is an insufficient number of number plates in ZImbabwe to meet demand and the impounding of vehicles is disproportionate treatment of motorists who are simply unable to properly register and license their vehicles. And Central Vehicle Registry (CVR) is about to run out again …

Since the joint announcement by ZRP and CVR on the 8th of September, 2020 that vehicles not displaying number plates would be impounded, a great deal of motorists have had their vehicles impounded despite their best efforts. Unscrupulous members at lockdown checkpoints are using this opportunity to extort fines from motorists to be allowed through the checkpoints. Despite CVR’s claims that permanent number plates are available, CVR is unable to meet the backlog of tens of thousands of vehicles requiring numberplates going back to 2019, as well as the demand from recently purchased vehicles. In a statement on the 10th of September Zinara encouraged motorists to properly license their vehicles however without a registration number (issued by CVR), it is impossible to license a vehicle …

Advising motorists to park their vehicles until they are properly registered and licensed is not a solution. In the absence of an efficient Public Transport System, the owners have invested in their vehicles to carry out their business and family affairs and should not be compromised through a dysfunctional environment. 

The registration of vehicles and displaying permanent number plates is vital to reduce crime such as hit-and-runs, robberies, and child abductions. Being able to identify vehicles and their overnight address will also encourage ZRP to re-introduce form 265 which does require the ability to identify offenders. Motorists who have made no attempt or deliberately remain anonymous should be penalized however we encourage the Ministry of Transport and ZRP to show consideration for the realities on the ground.

We recommend that all vehicles displaying Temporary Identification Cards (TIC) dated from the 1st of March, 2020 onwards be permitted on the roads and given a reasonable period to comply. However, vehicles with TIC’s issued prior to the 1st of March or showing no form of identification at all should be parked by their owners but if used, ZRP is in a position to impound.

Equally, ZRP and other authorities must accept full responsibility for vehicles that have been impounded. It is unacceptable that body parts and fuel is stolen from vehicles in the custody of ZRP, City of Harare, and other Councils.

The Ministry of Transport should rapidly scale up the production of number plates in Zimbabwe as well as investing in Central Vehicle Registry’s infrastructure which is currently in shambles, often lacking paper, stationery, and with broken photocopiers making it very difficult for the men and women of CVR to carry out their jobs.

We look forward to CVR and ZRP making a favourable announcement without delay.

With respect,

Sean of Big Sky

This appeal was first published on Facebook group Dear ZRP on 12 October, 2020

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Dealing with unprofessional ZRP checkpoints

Zimbabwean police inspect motorists at a roadblock near Harare on April 1, 2008. By Alexander Joe (AFP/File)

Sadly, not all members of the ZRP have adopted the professional service ethic that Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga is encouraging. We are receiving reports of unprofessional “roadblock-era” behaviour, involving harassment of female drivers on their own. This often occurs in remote, isolated areas where perhaps the members feel they are “untouchable”. Here is my advice on how to prove them wrong …

Visit the local police station

Invest time to visit the Officer Commanding at the police station the ZRP checkpoint is operating from. Request his/her name, rank and cell number. Every region has a TRAFFIC DISPOL, who has overall responsibility for the traffic policing within his/her region. Request his/her name, rank and cell number. Store both contacts in your phone.

Mention these names to the members at the problem checkpoint and you’ll almost always see an attitude adjustment for the better.

Install a dashboard camera

Unprofessional mischief usually occurs where the offending ZRP member feels he/she cannot be identified. A dashboard camera, or “dash cam” immediately overcomes this perception. As we saw during the roadblock-era, motorists using a dash cam experienced less harassment and greater respect. However, if you use a dash cam it is essential that you know how to use it, ESPECIALLY the ability to replay the footage, on request! (With the selfish and negligent driving that has become the norm on our roads and in town, and the dishonest reporting of accidents, dash cams have even more merit. A subject for another time …).

Report offenders to PGHQ

There is a genuine effort, under the leadership of Commissioner-General Matanga, to create a professional police service. We all agree that offensive behaviour by members of ZRP has no place in the current environment. Therefore, motorists can expect a positive response when reporting unprofessional behaviour at PGHQ, Harare (Tel: 024-2703631). However, do expect to have to follow up … request a report number and the name/rank of everyone you deal with.

Facebook group Dear ZRP is always available to report behaviour at ZRP checkpoints, both negative and positive.

Finally, remember that your own attitude and behaviour has a direct influence on the outcome at a ZRP checkpoint. Display the same polite behaviour that you expect to receive and 9 times out of 10 the encounter will be peaceful and amicable.

Safe travel,

Sean Quinlan

Big Sky Supplies, Managing Director

Dear ZRP, Admin

Road Users Association, Co-founder

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BIG SKY UPDATE: DEPOSIT FINES | PROCESSING ROADSIDE FINES

DEPOSIT FINES

Motorists will be alarmed at media reports of $700 deposit fines, from 1 January. Recent reports of ZRP insisting on payment of fines in US Dollars, haven’t helped stress levels. The following should clarify these issues for Big Sky customers …

DEPOSIT FINES

The short version:

  • The increased fines proposed by Minister Ncube are still going through legal process and are not in effect, yet.
  • The MAXIMUM fine that can be imposed at the roadside remains Level 3, currently set at $30.
  • A fine higher than Level 3 can only be imposed by a magistrate after a court appearance.
  • The deposit fines currently being imposed by ZRP for traffic offences are $10 for Level 1, $20 for Level 2, with Level 3 attracting a fine of $30.
  • Once the final Scale of Fines has been gazetted, Big Sky anticipates Levels 1 to 3 will double to $20, $30 and $60, respectively.

Motorists are reminded you have the right to refuse a roadside fine and appear in court if you prefer not to admit guilt. However, be aware the Harare Magistrate’s Court is dysfunctional and you can expect to be severely inconvenienced …

The long version:

In his 2019 Budget Speech on 22 November, 2018, Finance & Economic Minister Mthuli Ncube proposed a number of measures affecting motorists. Amongst others, the Minister proposed increasing the maximum traffic fine to $700. To implement this and other proposals, the Finance (No. 3) Bill, 2018, was gazetted on 14 December, 2018.

The Bill proposes a revised Standard Scale of Fines, which goes even further than $700, with Level 12 listed as $8,000. (As an example Level 12 applies to “reckless driving” in respect of commuter omnibus and heavy duty drivers). This represents a quadrupling of the Levels from 4 to 14, whereas Levels 1 to 3 are doubled, up to $60.

However, since the minister was questioned in parliament about the severity of these fine levels, we understand they are under review. Big Sky therefore expects fines on all levels will be doubled (not quadrupled), once the final version of the Bill passes through parliament.

In the meanwhile …

  • Motorists are reminded that the MAXIMUM fine that can be imposed at the roadside is Level 3, currently set at $30. A fine higher than Level 3 can only be imposed by a magistrate after a court appearance.
  • The fines currently being imposed by ZRP for traffic offences are $10 for Level 1, $20 for Level 2, with Level 3 attracting a fine of $30.
  • Therefore, do not accept a roadside fine higher than $30, and exercise your right to appear in court if you prefer not to admit guilt.

PROCESSING OF ROADSIDE FINES

Motorists will recall the electronic devices ZRP introduced in June, 2017, at the height of the roadblock-era. These are named the Traffic Enforcement Gadget (TEG) and have since evolved into an efficient means to process deposit fines and accept payment.

  • The Traffic Enforcement Gadget is loaded with traffic statutory information, and the relevant fines. 
  • When imposing a fine on a motorist, the ZRP member will enter the section of the Statutory Instrument or Act, and the relevant fine will appear on the screen, e.g. “C.s. 29 Fail to display current vehicle licence or temporary licence – $10”.
  • The motorist is given three options to pay at the roadside: cash, mobile payment (e.g. EcoCash) or swipe. 
  • When paying with EcoCash, the motorists cell number is inputted into the TEG, which then prints the fine with payment method details, which acts as a receipt. The motorist must receive an SMS notification to his/her cell phone, with ZRP clearly stated as the beneficiary.
  • The TEG has an inbuilt swipe facility and a fine/receipt is printed as above.
  • When paying in foreign currency such as Rands, or Pounds, the device will calculate the amount based on the exchange rate of the day. 
  • When paying by cash, USD and bonds are calculated at 1 to 1 and the motorist has the option to pay in either.

Big Sky acknowledges the contribution from the publishers of BIZ Bulletin, a useful guide to business-relevant legislation. Subscription enquiries to aquamor@mweb.co.zw 

We hope you will find this update useful.

Kind regards … Sean Quinlan

Managing Director

Big Sky Supplies – We prepare you for your journey