Driving schools petition Govt to reopen as lockdown bites

…apply for exemptions and tax holidays, TSCZ advises

By Ratidzo Munembi

The Zimbabwe Driving Schools Owners Association (ZDSOA) has written to the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ) seeking facilitation for the immediate reopening of the Vehicle Inspectorate Department (VID).

The association, which has a membership across the country, contends that the sustained closure of VID services is driving them to bankruptcy, to the detriment of thousands of employees.

In the letter, ZDSOA claims the continued suspension of operations by at both TSCZ and VID was also putting them at the risk of losing experienced instructors to other sectors thereby impacting on the quality of future drivers.

“Driving school sector falls in the category of formal sector and contributes to the fiscus in several ways. It also benefits other sectors such as the fuel sector, spares shops and vehicle repairs.

“On the other hand, our sector is required to meet obligations such City Council shop licences, vehicle insurance, certificates of fitness, learner’s liability, NSSA and ZIMRA payments. We also have to pay office rentals, the parked vehicles are also accumulating day and overnight parking fees.

“Our employees are suffering due to non-payment of salaries. Instructor’s identity cards or driving school certificates of registration are expiring and there is no communication from your institution to inform us of a waiver on late renewals,” reads part of the letter.

The organisation wants to know the fate of such documents as provisional driver’s licences, motor vehicle certificates of fitness, learner’s liability insurance and instructors’ identity cards or penalties, all of which cannot be regularised without the input of TSCZ and VID.

When contacted for comment, TSCZ acting managing director Clifford Gobo said it was not within the ambit of his organisation to reopen VID.

“This is done by the principal institution which is the Ministry of Transport. We acknowledge receipt of their later outlining their concerns and we have forwarded them to higher authorities. We are liaising with the ministry so that an amicable way forward can be found,” said Gobo.

He also said it was difficult to expect an immediate reopening of those services when coronavirus cases are increasing in the country.

“How do you guarantee that the learner driver you want to bring through the processes is free of the virus and wouldn’t pass it on to others in the line of duty? We appreciate the work being done by the government to ensure a cautious reopening of the economy at the least possible risk. Our door remains open for further consultation,” said Gobo.

On the issue of financial obligations to such institutions as local authorities, Zimra and Nssa, Gobo said the driving schools should look at possibilities of applying for exemptions, waivers and tax holidays.

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