Sunday, 26 September 2010 10:40
THE government has banned the importation of second-hand vehicles as part of
a raft of new measures aimed at arresting the carnage on the country's
According to Road Traffic (Construction, Equipment and Use) Regulations
published in the government gazette of September 17, the Ministry of
Transport and Infrastructural Development is also phasing out left-hand
The regulations that will also hit hard owners of unroadworthy vehicles and
cripple local car dealers come into effect on March 1 2011.
Vehicles older than five years will be affected and the move will push the
price of locally assembled cars beyond the reach of many.
The statutory instrument says in part: "No person shall import any vehicle
for registration and use on any road in Zimbabwe if the year of manufacture
from the country of origin is more than five years."
"Provided that this shall not apply to any motor vehicle registered in
Zimbabwe before the 31st of March, 2011."
Used Japanese cars (pictured) have become popular with Zimbabweans over the
years as they are cheaper than those assembled locally.
Previous attempts by government to raise import duty on second hand vehicles
have been met with a lot of resistance.
Last month, Environment and Natural Resources minister Francis Nhema caused
a stir when he proposed the ban on the importation of used vehicles in order
to "save lives and protect the environment."
Nhema said the majority of the cars had been banned on the roads in their countries of origin and were being dumped on Zimbabwe.
Tough regulations on emissions force Japanese car owners to replace old vehicles with newer models.
The new regulations in Zimbabwe go further to say: "No person shall drive on
a road any motor vehicle registered in terms of the Vehicle Registration
and Licensing Act (Chapter 13:14) for the first time in Zimbabwe on or
after the 31st of March, 2011, if the steering wheel of the vehicle is on
the left hand side."
However, left-hand drives are not very popular in Zimbabwe. Partson Mbiriri,
the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural
Development last month said government was considering banning the left-hand
driven vehicles because they contributed to the high carnage on the
"Government is considering banning all left-hand-driven vehicles because it
has become clear that they are one of the major causes of accidents on the
roads," Mbiriri said at the launch of the Global Road Safety week.
Government has also gone further to ban the use of tints on windows and tightened regulations governing the carrying of passengers.
For example owners of light vehicles other than public service vehicles will
not be allowed to carry more than five passengers "unless a seating width of
at least 380 mm and 300 mm is allowed for the driver and every passenger
respectively, measured along the rear of such a seat level."
BY KHOLWANI NYATHI
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