Long wait for determination of challenge of ZUPCO monopoly

ZIMBABWE Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has for the past six months been waiting for the Registrar of the High Court to set down for hearing an application challenging the state-run Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) monopoly and some restrictions on informal traders as directed by the Supreme Court.

On 12 March 2021, Supreme Court Judges faulted Justice Mary Zimba-Dube
for misdirecting herself when she dismissed an application challenging
the ZUPCO monopoly and some restrictions on informal traders and
ordered that the matter be remitted to the High Court to be heard by a
different Judge.

In their application, which was filed in 2020, Zimbabwe Chamber of
Informal Economy Association (ZCIEA), Passengers Association of
Zimbabwe (PAZ) and Constantine Chaza, represented by Tendai Biti of
ZLHR, argued that the imposition of national lockdown regulations and
the ban on informal sector trading imposed by government which
included a ban on private commuter omnibuses was discriminatory and

They also argued that the ban created an unlawful monopoly for ZUPCO.

ZCIEA, PAZ and Chaza want some registered transport operators and
other operators to be allowed to ferry passengers on their licenced
routes subject to compliance with relevant national lockdown
conditions such as social distancing, temperature testing and the use
of hand sanitisers.

ZICEA, PAZ and Chaza also argued that the national lockdown
regulations violated their members’’ constitutional rights to freedom
of profession, trade or occupation enshrined in section 64 of the
In her judgment issued on 26 May 2020, Justice Zimba-Dube dismissed
ZCIEA, PAZ and Chaza’s application after ruling that there was no
discrimination against private commuter omnibus as they could operate
under ZUPCO and that opening the informal sector could fuel the spread
of coronavirus.

However, for six months, ZCIEA, PAZ and Chaza have been keenly waiting
for the Registrar of the High Court to set down the matter for hearing
and determination before a different Judge as directed by the Supreme
Court on 12 March 2021.

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