LIVINGSTONE police in riot gear yesterday fired teargas to disperse bus conductors, drivers and taxi operators who had blocked town centre roads in protest against the alleged rise in various fees by the police and Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA).
Several Livingstone police officers were found removing various objects used by the protesters to block the roads in town
The police later fired tear gas at buses and taxi drivers while some of them retaliated with stones, prompting bystanders to scamper in different directions.
Business at the Zimbabwe Market in the town centre came to a standstill.
But some officials at RTSA Livingstone office, who declined to be named said there were no hikes in fees, saying the agency was charging as outlined in the Road Traffic Act No 11 of 2002.
Southern Province deputy police chief Paul Achiume earlier pleaded with the drivers who had gathered along Mosi-Oa-Tunya Road, to go back to their work stations because they had formed an illegal assembly in the streets.
Mr Achiume assured them that the Government would address their concerns hence the need to stop the unlawful assembly.
Livingstone Tax Drivers Hungry Lion chairperson Boniface Chintele said drivers wanted RTSA and the police to maintain old fees because the alleged new fees were too high.
“The fees have risen by more than 100 or 200 per cent in certain instances. For renewing PSV licence, the fees have been increased to K1 million from the previous charge of about K100,000,” he said.
Livingstone Town Clerk Dras Neves said in an interview that council levies on motorists had not changed and suspected the protests were based on police and RTSA fees.
Ms Neves said taxi drivers were still paying K2,000 per day while bus drivers were still paying K5,000 per day with big buses paying K80,000 per load which she said had never changed over the past 10 years.
Livingstone Bus Drivers Association chairperson Paul Sensele cautioned his drivers not to throw stones at the police.
And Southern Province permanent secretary Gladys Kristafor has asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to direct the police and RTSA to revert to old fees charged to motorists.