In the last four months, Harare recorded 1,200 cases of kidnapping and robbery. The victims were usually offered transport in and around the city.
The vehicles of choice for the criminals are mostly imported Japanese models.
Jabulani Gondongwe from the Avenues said people needed to be wary. “The problem is that most times people are running late and do not have the time to scrutinise the vehicles,” he said. “I have absolutely no faith in the police. People no longer bother to report cases because they know that instead of getting help they are the ones who end up being inconvenienced.”
He blamed unemployment for the surge in violent crime. “If people try to sell whatever wares they may have, they end up fighting running battles with the municipal police who also demand bribes from them.
“If the police manage to apprehend the culprits, they should publish their pictures because once they are released they resume their activities.”
Mativenga Mutezo from Borrowdale said he was horrified by the police statistics and said travelling on the highway was now a serious danger.
“This is a huge issue affecting us. I commute frequently and it makes things more difficult because it’s easier to travel in these smaller vehicles. I usually prefer these cars because they offer quicker transportation,” he said. Lynette Manzini said to deal with the issue the government needed to address the unemployment menace.
“It’s all because of unemployment. The people are frustrated and don’t know what to do. They resort to criminal activities because there is no other way to make a living.’
Manzini said that parents and guardians could not continue spending a fortune on university fees, so they had to find their own means of surviving without jobs. “The police are only active when dealing with political issues involving Zanu (PF) and MDC. When it comes to protecting the people, they are invisible,” she said.
Oddie Mavusa from Marange in Manicaland said the authorities needed to study how their counterparts in other countries had dealt with similar situations. “The victims in such cases cannot be asked to provide much because they are helpless and due to trauma find it hard to even describe the perpetrators,” he said. A commuter omnibus conductor on the city Marlborough route said he once confronted a kombi used by one of the gangs at a traffic light.
“The driver drew out a catapult and huge wheel nuts. The driver of our vehicle quickly sped off. When we got to the roadblock we tried to talk to the police and describe the vehicles to them but they were more interested in getting money from us,” he said.
One woman from Hatfield said it was difficult for commuters to identify suspect vehicles.
“People should just avoid boarding vehicles at undesignated points because the robbers usually pick up people on the road and not at bus termini,” she said.Post published in: News