Government has directed police to mount only one roadblock within a 10-km radius and to submit monthly schedules on their road traffic operations countrywide.
Stations have also been ordered to harmonise such operations under a one-stop-shop arrangement, with deployment of officers being closely scrutinised.
These innovations are tailored to reduce the huge number of roadblocks which has previously been cited as an encumbrance to tourism and ease of doing business.
Responding to inquiries from The Sunday Mail last week, Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo said: “All Provincial commanders have been instructed to submit their monthly roadblock schedules to Police General Headquarters (Operations) to ensure effective monitoring of deployments in line with the organisational policy of erecting roadblocks at a distance of not less than 10km apart.”
“One-stop-shop roadblocks, which are multi-purpose, are being implemented to avoid duplications. Increased supervision of deployed personnel is going to be enhanced to correct any inconsistencies with policies and directives.
“A review of all deployments is being done with a view to rationalising the roadblock deployment system in order to ensure effectiveness and efficiency.”
Dr Chombo said the recently-introduced national Electronic Traffic Management System will also help reduce roadblocks while enhancing oversight.
The system links the Vehicle Theft Squad, Vehicle Inspection Department, Central Vehicle Registry and Zimbabwe Transport Information Systems.
Said the minister, “Installation of computers has been done at 26 traffic stations and all the 26 have successfully been connected to the internet. Operationalisation of the electronic transfer system has been delayed by the late arrival of roadblock site gadgets which already have been imported.
“Once these have been received, the system will be enabled. Stations connected as of 29/03/2017 are Avondale, Beitbridge, Bindura, BYO Central,Chirundu, Chitungwiza, Guruve, Guruve, Gokwe, Gutu, Gweru, Mbembesi, Harare Central, Hatfield, Highway Patrol, Kadoma, Karoi, Mabvuku, Marondera, Masvingo, Mazowe , Mbare, Mt Darwin, Murewa, Mutare Traffic, Mvurwi, Nkulumane, Norton, Nyanga, Rusape, Southerton and Warren Park. Technicians are deployed throughout the country to complete installation as soon as possible.”
In 2016, Tourism and Hospitality Minister Dr Walter Mzembi and the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce expressed displeasure over the high number of roadblocks, saying this partly stifled efforts to improve the country’s general business environment.
Motorists have often complained about losing productive time at several roadblocks between various locations.
Another point of contestation has been fines, which traffic offenders are required to pay on the spot without the option of having to pay later.
Last week, fines for road traffic offences increased as stipulated by the 2017 National Budget.
For instance, driving a vehicle without head or side lights, failure to maintain direction indicators, not reporting an accident within 24 hours, tampering with the third number plate, failing to stop at a rail/road crossing, driving in the wrong direction on a one-way street and overtaking in front of oncoming traffic now attract a US$30 fine.