High Court Presides Over Challenge of ZUPCO Monopoly

High Court Judge Justice Owen Tagu will on Wednesday 15 September 2021 preside over hearing and determination of an application challenging the state-run Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) monopoly and some restrictions on informal traders.

The hearing of the application came after the Supreme Court on 12 March 2021 faulted Justice Mary Zimba-Dube for misdirecting herself when she dismissed an application challenging the ZUPCO monopoly and some restrictions on informal traders and ordered that the matter be remitted to the High Court to be heard by a different Judge.

In their application, which was filed in 2020, Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Association (ZCIEA), Passengers Association of Zimbabwe (PAZ) and Constantine Chaza, represented by Tendai Biti of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, argued that the imposition of national lockdown regulations and the ban on informal sector trading imposed by government which included a ban on private commuter omnibuses was discriminatory and unconstitutional. They also argued that the ban created an unlawful monopoly for ZUPCO.

ZCIEA, PAZ and Chaza want some registered transport operators and other operators to be allowed to ferry passengers on their licenced routes subject to compliance with relevant national lockdown conditions such as social distancing, temperature testing and the use of hand sanitisers.

ZICEA, PAZ and Chaza also argued that the national lockdown regulations violated their members’’ constitutional rights to freedom of profession, trade or occupation enshrined in section 64 of the Constitution. In her judgment issued on 26 May 2020, Justice Zimba-Dube dismissed ZCIEA, PAZ and Chaza’s application after ruling that there was no discrimination against private commuter omnibus as they could operate under ZUPCO and that opening the informal sector could fuel the spread of coronavirus.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

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