The Chairman of the Francistown Taxi Association, Knight Chengeta, has accused the Police and the Department of Road Transport and Safety (DRTS) in Francistown of failing to deal with the increasing number of pirate transport operators.
Speaking during the recent workshop held by the Police in Francistown, Chengeta said that it is sad to note that despite several efforts by the association to report such illegal transport operators to the police and the DRTS, no action is taken against such culprits.
“We have long reported the issue of illegal transport operators to the police but they are not taking any action against them. We held a workshop with the Police and the DRTS last year where we raised the same issue but the problem still continues. The situation is even getting worse and is affecting our transport business,” he said.
Chengeta added that some of these pirate transport operators ferry passengers from as far as Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia into the country.
“A huge number of illegal transport operators from as far as Namibia, Zimbabwe or Zambia ferry passengers at ease into the country. The police and the DRTS seem not to bother about such a problem,” Chengeta said.
In response, the Divisional Traffic Officer North, Senior Superintendent Engemadzo Sechele, acknowledged the problem, adding that there is high need by all stakeholders to pool their efforts with the police in curbing the problem. He further reminded the participants that transporting passengers in a vehicle that is not permitted to do so is a high risk as some of the vehicles are not roadworthy.
“I have to admit that we have such a problem as the Police and I want to plead with all our stakeholders to help us mitigate the situation. Some of these pirate transport businesses are a hazard to the lives of passengers as their vehicles are not monitored or inspected for safety,” he said.
However, Sechele assured the participants that the police will play an active role in curbing the illegal practice.
For his part, the Principal Transport Officer from DRTS in Francistown, Keatlholetswe Kebaabetswe, also acknowledged the problem as worrisome, stating that there is need for collective efforts to solve the problem.
“Through our collective efforts, such culprits can be arrested and the problem could be contained,” he said.
The main objective of the workshop was to harmonize and forge inter-relations between the traffic police and other stakeholders, such as the Botswana Unified Revenue Service and the Department of Roads.