Govt Plots Ambush On Hard Pressed Motorists
1 May 2024
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Cabinet has given the green light to pivotal amendments to the Broadcasting Services Act [Chapter 12:06] in a move set to significantly enhance the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation’s (ZBC) financial standing.

These changes will compel every motorist to secure an up-to-date radio licence as a prerequisite for vehicle disposal or the acquisition of motor vehicle insurance.

The impending legislation has sparked discontent among drivers, who deem the current law—mandating only a receiver—to be inequitable. A considerable number of motorists, particularly those with second-hand vehicles imported from Japan, find themselves unable to tune into ZBC’s radio frequencies.

“The new amendment is an unfair burden on the average motorist,” lamented Lazarus Bhebhe, a local car owner. “My car radio, like many others from Japan, can’t even pick up local stations.”

ZBC’s history of rigorous enforcement campaigns, obligating licence purchases regardless of a radio’s functionality or compatibility with Zimbabwean frequencies, has been a source of frustration for many.

“It’s absurd to pay for a service that we can’t use,” argued another motorist, Happiness Makomo.

Information Minister, Jenfan Muswere, in a post-Cabinet briefing, outlined the rationale behind the additional amendments.

“As the nation may recall, the first set of principles for the amendment of the Broadcasting Services Act were approved by Cabinet in 2019,” explained Muswere.

“The proposed additional principles are therefore meant to address shortcomings which were identified in the document, which is being drafted. The additional amendments will, among other provisions…ensure gender balance in the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe Board, (provide for) annual applications for broadcasting frequency spectrum licences, broaden and introduce new definitions under Section 38A; and prohibition of the sale of motor vehicle registration licence or motor vehicle insurance cover or policy to a person without a current radio licence or an exemption from ZBC under Section 38B.”

It will now be mandatory for all motorists to possess a current radio licence or an exemption from ZBC when engaging in transactions involving vehicle registration or insurance cover, Muswere said.

With these revisions, ZBC anticipates a substantial expansion of its revenue base, though at the cost of the motorists’ satisfaction.