Thursday, March 4, 2021

Govt to crack down on errant transport operators

Transport and Communications Minister Nonofo Molefhi says government is extremely worried by indiscipline depicted by some transport operators in Botswana. He has therefore sent a very strong warning, and has as also promised to crack a whip on operators who do not treat passengers with care.

The minister was speaking at a well attended two day Transport Pitso held in Maun midweek where transport operators also took turns to condemn the many guidelines which govern them, though with no benefits.

Molefhi said that government is also aware that some driving schools do not have the right accreditation with the Botswana Training Authority (BOTA), which is meant to ensure the quality of trainers.

“Some of these driving schools also use learners as instructors, or even go to an extent of hiring people who do not possess the essential qualifications as instructors. This will never be tolerated…… we will now ensure that our officers monitor these driving schools from time to time.

We cannot expect to have best drivers on our roads if they are not tested accurately. We are also going to have to deal with the abuse of the provision of permits which people are now renting out to make extra profits. If by any means they feel they are done with them, they should instead return them to controllers, so that they may be tendered, beca use otherwise this behavior will continue to corrupt the issuance of permits”, he said.

Meanwhile, operators also decried the level at which livestock freely roam the streets, which always results in road traffic accidents. They also complained about the bad status of both internal and external roads in most areas which have left their taxis and buses dilapidated.

In response, the minister said some of the problems have been created by industry; something which he says has left the ministry with no choice but to increase traffic courts.

He said the issue of livestock on the road is a bit of a challenge as the Ministry of Agriculture database does not provide adequate details on how the cattle owners could be tracked. He said: “We will however ask them to link and update their records, as it will be less complicated to deal with the owners. The owners will on the other hand be given hefty fines. As you may be aware, we have engaged the services of cattle patrol teams in some areas, and we spend lots of money paying these people. And so we will amend the law to allow council bye laws to make a provision of stray livestock to be impounded. The status of roads also tops our list, even though we might not maintain many of them anytime soon. It is worth noting that currently the government’s total annual budget for road maintenance stands at P1 billion,” he said.

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