Tuesday, 27 January 2015

ZUPCO without valid passenger insurance

THE Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) has been operating without valid passenger liability insurance for more than a year, investigations by Newzimbabwe.com have revealed.

ZUPCO has more than 200 buses plying urban and rural routes and if the company had renewed its policy they would have paid thousands of dollars.

Last week one of its buses was involved in an accident along Harare-Mutoko high way that left 26 people dead and several others injured.

Survivors of the accident have since been asked to pay cash upfront at hospitals for them to be treated further exposing the bus company.

The bus company falls under the ministry of local government, public works and national housing led by Ignatius Chombo.

An investigation has revealed that since October 2013 ZUPCO has had no valid passenger liability insurance.

In Zimbabwe it is mandatory for public transport providers to cover medical bills for injured passengers and cover funeral expenses for the deceased.

However some passengers are languishing in hospitals as doctors are refusing to attend to them unless they pay cash up front.

The last time the company had valid passenger insurance was under Nicoz-Diamond who have since confirmed to Newzimbabwe.com that since the end of 2013 the bus company did not renew its policy.

ZUPCO has previously denied that they were breaking the law but a Nicoz official who refused to be named said that when the ZUPCO policy expired they never bothered to renew it despite efforts to remind them to do so.

“We wrote and even sometimes called to remind them but they were telling us they are coming to renew it. Since then we never heard from them”.

“If they had renewed it they would have forked out nearly $66 000 per term for all their buses”.

When it had the valid passenger insurance Nicoz-Diamond was charging the bus company $5 per passenger for a four month term and $5 for duty stamp.

Despite all the evidence exposing the company, ZUPCO promised to pay compensation.

“We will provide assistance to both deceased and the injured through the company’s passenger personal accident cover which is yet to release the funds”, claimed ZUPCO.

About 26 passengers lost their lives in an accident that involved ZUPCO and Pioneer buses.
ZUPCO without valid passenger insurance
ZUPCO without valid passenger insurance
Several passengers were injured.

The government later declared the accident a national disaster and provided each family with $200, a coffin and transport from the mortuary to the burial place.

The Road Traffic Act requires all public service vehicles to have passenger insurance among other requirements for them to be allowed to carry passengers.

To date ZUPCO Management, Board and Staff have only issued a statement of condolence.

Commenting on this sad development MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said that whatever ZANU PF touches it gets contaminated.

“This regime has run down ZUPCO over the years through rampant corruption and insipid mismanagement.’

“I can bet you my bottom dollar that ZUPCO doesn’t have a valid insurance policy to cover passengers in the event of an accident”.

“The ZANU PF regime is a curse to the generality of the people of Zimbabwe, the sooner it gets out of power the better for all patriotic Zimbabweans”. www.newzimbabwe.com
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