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Government's decision to introduce buses plying long distances under the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) franchise has left other operators feeling the heat given the competitive transport fares charged by the State-owned public transport company, legislators heard yesterday.

Private operators have since registered their grievance with Government, saying Zupco fares were threatening their viability.

Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo said they would not relent on the provision of affordable transport fares for the generality of people, most of whom were reeling from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Minister Moyo said this in the National Assembly yesterday while responding to a number of backbenchers' questions regarding operations of Zupco.

"We have had a meeting where private operators complained that Zupco is pushing them out of business," he said.

"But we told them that was the price of competition. We want better fares for our people."

Minister Moyo said Zupco remained the authorised arm of ferrying urban commuters.

He said those plying long distances will continue to be governed by their terms of operating licences given by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development.

Responding to another question, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe defended DNA results for slain seven-year-old Murehwa boy Tapiwa Makore (Jnr), saying police investigating the case did a thorough job.

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Minister Kazembe said the family was free to conduct its own independent autopsy after it was handed over the remains.

His response followed reports that the family had rejected DNA results for the boy murdered in September last year, allegedly for ritual purposes.

Minister Kazembe said Government had used reputable laboratories and was confident with the results that came out.

"The police were very thorough in their investigations," he said.

"We used all the laboratories available. The family was free to choose their own scientists, but as Government we are satisfied with the work the police did."

Lands, Agriculture Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Anxious Masuka said his Ministry was in the process to restructuring Agritex to effectively capacitate and train personnel. He said the primary idea was to ensure that people, including youths, appreciated farming as a business and not as a hobby.

"Government is restructuring Agritex," he said.

"Underneath it there will be a director to capacitate personnel and training. We want A2 farmers to become business farmers and A1 farmers to become small to medium enterprises, it is a journey."

Minister Masuka said they engaged CMED to assist Agritex officers to drive motor cycles given the prevalence of accidents they have been involved in.

He said at least 72 Agritex officers countrywide were involved in accidents in recent months, a number he said was not acceptable.

Read the original article on The Herald.

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