You probably don’t think much about it whenever you jump on public service vehicles.
For millions other Zimbabweans who, everyday, depend on public transportation such as combis, illegal taxis known as “mushika-shika” and other buses, its generally out of mind that a huge section of the public transportation system in this country leaves the majority of its users badly exposed.
According to Tafadzwa Goliati the head of the fledgling Passenger Association of Zimbabwe (PAZ), the majority of public service vehicles on Zimbabwe’s roads have no passenger insurance.
Following the nasty and deeply saddening Nyamakati bus crush along the Harare-Chirundu road on the night of 7th March 2017, Goliati told reporters that “65% of vehicles on Zimbabwe’s roads have no insurance cover” also adding that this is a big problem for his Association.
This essentially means that at least a million Zimbabweans travel on public transport without cover daily. Should an accident occur, families of the dead and the injured are not compensated in any way. Many accident injuries require expensive life long care and support.
Zimbabwe’s public commuting system is now largely run by highly profit driven private operators in the aftermath of the collapse of a once vibrant state run public transportation system decades ago.
Following in the footsteps of countries such as Botswana and South Africa, the government is currently putting together a road accident fund, albeit with public and operator resistance.