The nearly six-month closure of the Vehicle Inspection Department (VID), which has resulted in the government department failing to offer tests to learner drivers and issue drivers’ licences has seen an increase of fake licences flooding the market.
Desperate unlicenced drivers in need of driving disks are turning to conmen who are issuing out fake licences at a cost.
This was confirmed by the Zimbabwe Driving Schools Owners Association (ZDSOA).
The association has since requested the government to consider permitting driving tests to resume and stop fake licences flooding the market, a move that was causing an increase in accidents across the country.
“It is our concern that some desperate clients are being duped by fraudsters who are issuing fake drivers’ licences to learner drivers who are in need of the documents to secure employment and those who desperately need to drive for business or essential trips authorised under this lockdown,” the association said.
“It has been noted that the prolonged closure of the VID learner testing even though learner’s licences were granted a six months extension has affected preparations for road tests since there is uncertainty surrounding driver testing resumption,” it added.
“In our previous engagements, it has been put to us that we are classified under teaching and learning. However, we indicated that our learning environment and testing has less exposure. Although we felt that our exposure is lesser as compared to tertiary institutions, we were expecting a resumption of testing when tertiary institutions resumed.”
Some colleges and universities reopened early this month while primary and secondary schools are expected to resume learning for exam classes on 28 September.
“Taking cognisance of the fact that driver training and testing is an essential service to ensure a safe driving environment on our roads, it is anticipated that we will be given dates in due course,” ZDSOA said in a statement.
“The association submitted to the ministry of transport, the guidelines we are following to minimise the risk of transmitting Covid-19 and we believe there will be less risk during testing at VID.”
The association said it has put in place various measures to comply with the government and the World Health Organisation (WHO) Covid-19 prevention guidelines.
“Since our clients are aged 16 years and above, we expect them to be responsible enough to adapt to the measures put in place to safeguard their lives and those of others,” said the association.
“During practical driving lessons, we stand guided by the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe regulations which makes it mandatory for a single learner in the vehicle per given time and strictly without passengers. We will also maintain client registers also according to Traffic Safety Council regulations.
“This system can be employed for contact tracing in compliance with WHO standards in the case of transmissions. Our members have been conscientised by the provincial Covid-19 task force teams on the statutory requirements that every formal business is required to fulfil in order to operate.”