ZUPCO fleet auctioned

zupco2BULAWAYO - The cash-strapped Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) has embarked on an extensive auctioning of its obsolete fleet and assets in Bulawayo in a desperate bid to pay workers and debtors.

The once dominant public transport operator has over the years been marred by serious allegations of financial mismanagement and corruption which has resulted in the company falling to its knees.

Impeccable sources in the company told The Zimbabwean that the former ruling party Zanu (PF) owes ZUPCO a lot of money since the party has been hiring the company’s buses free of charge for its party functions.

“Most of the problems at ZUPCO have been created by Zanu (PF) which has been abusing the company by failing to pay for services provided. Most of the workers at ZUPCO, including its chief executive, are also political appointees who virtually know nothing about the transport sector,” said a source at the company who refused to be named for fear of victimization.

During the run up to the 2008 harmonized elections Zanu (PF) also extensively used ZUPCO’s fleet as a campaign tool to woo rural voters. Former Local government deputy minister and Zanu (PF) losing candidate in the 2008 parliamentary elections in Chipinge South Constituency, Morris Sakabuya, is currently ZUPCO’s Chief Executive Officer.

Sources at the company said the public transport utility was in desperate need of cash and thus the auctioning exercise was an attempt to raise funds and meet the debts the company had accrued under the Zanu (PF) led government.

The obsolete fleet is being sold for between US$1 000 and US$2 000 depending on levels of fitness.

“The danger we have noted is that some unscrupulous individuals are turning this auction into their own get-rich campaign as they are selling out near perfect buses and these are being sold among themselves which is really scandalous in nature,” said another source.

When reached for comment ZUPCO’s Bulawayo Regional Divisional Operations Manager, Clifford Muhoni, confirmed the stripping of equipment at the company.

“I can confirm that this is a country wide exercise where we are auctioning old bus shells and other equipment. In Bulawayo this auction has already been done and so far we are happy with the response we are receiving from the public,” said Muhoni.

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