ZUPCO evicted

The City Council here has evicted the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company from its largest depot in Kelvin industrial sites over non-payment of rates and rentals.

ZUPCO buses have been used to carry Zanu (PF) supporters to rallies and conferences free of charge.
ZUPCO buses have been used to carry Zanu (PF) supporters to rallies and conferences free of charge.

According to the latest council minutes in possession of The Zimbabwean, the cash-strapped public transporter owes the city council US$107 573, 90 in unpaid rates and rentals as of June 2011.

The council, according to the minutes, has resolved that ZUPCO should immediately vacate the Kelvin North premises and only retain the City Hall selling office and Khami road depot which the company is leasing from the local authority.

ZUPCO's Division Operations Manager, C.Z Muwoni, recently wrote a letter to Bulawayo city council pleading with the local authority to recede its decision over the issue.

"ZUPCO maintains that it requires retention of the three premises which are stand 2200A Steeldale, Khami road, and stand 13274 Kelvin North and the City Hall tickets office. ZUPCO intends to increase its fleet before the end of this year; the increase in fleet would be beneficial to the community in Bulawayo urban and undoubtedly restore order in the industry," reads part of Muwoni's letter to council.

However, council shot down ZUPCO's request saying the company was negotiating in bad faith and had failed to pay its rentals and rates

"Zupco has not increased its fleet. The few buses seen around are only plying rural areas and therefore not servicing Bulawayo,” said the Director of Housing and Community Services, Isaiah Magagula, in his response to ZUPCO'S request.

ZUPCO has been facing serious viability problems over the past years. Company buses have been used to carry Zanu (PF) supporters to party functions such as conferences free of charge. ZUPCO buses have also been forced to ply less profitable rural routes, in a development widely viewed as an attempt to appease rural voters. The company has also been riddled with allegations of corruption and mismanagement.

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