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Public transporters heed Govt directive, install speed limit devices

Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona and his deputy Joshua Sacco follow proceedings at the National Road Safety indaba in Harare yesterday.

Transport operators have started fitting buses with speed tracking and limiting devices in line with Statutory Instrument 118 of 2023, which wants buses unable to travel faster than the bus speed limit of 100km/h on the open road.

A monitoring centre has been set up at Harare Central Police Station where the operators are conducting tests in conjunction with other relevant stakeholders.

Government recently ordered that all public service vehicles, including buses, be fitted with speed limiting and monitoring devices to ensure speeding by drivers is curbed, thereby saving lives.

Police will be capacitated to ensure compliance, following the gazetting of new regulations by Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Felix Mhona in June. 

The Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe yesterday held a National Road Safety indaba with the aim of establishing the impact of road safety education and awareness and to determine the initiatives and strategies to ensure road safety.

Minister Mhona, his deputy Joshua Sacco, the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Harare Metropolitan Province Charles Tavengwa, TSCZ officials and transport operators attended the meeting.

In an interview, Zimbabwe Passenger Transport Organisation chairperson Dr Samson Nhanhanga said as an association, their main aim was to reduce accidents on the roads as well as assuring passengers of their safety and reliability 

“Our main aim is to reduce road carnage. Safety and reliability is our main topic every day and so with this, we thought we would reduce accidents by 30 percent maybe by the year 2025.

“As an association, we are working with VID, the Traffic Safety Council and all the relevant ministries and departments which are concerned with road issues. We donated speed monitoring devices and they can work on any bus and it works with a tracker. 

“We have talked to Econet Wireless to integrate the whole system with other stakeholders so that at the end of the day all buses can be on one platform,” he said. 

Dr Nhanhanga confirmed that a pilot project was being conducted at Harare Central Police Station by the police and other relevant stakeholders.

Guests attend the National Road Safety indaba in Harare yesterday.

“The pilot project is going on very well. The people in the control room are able to see a bus wherever it is. Yes, we have challenges here and there but we are polishing them up.”

On the speed limiting devices, he said they had talked to the suppliers to supply to all buses and by the end of the year all buses will be unable to drive at more than 100km/h.

ZPTO secretary-general Mr Wilfred Chibage said the speed control devices will help alleviate accidents through monitoring and controlling buses and they were working with the Government to make sure that the control centre encompasses all public service buses not just ZPTO.

TSCZ board chairperson Mr Kura Sibanda expressed concern over the conduct of some drivers on the roads. “We have many transport modes. There is mushikashika and kombis. There are many of them and they don’t respect the country’s laws. You find them driving against traffic, they don’t respect the traffic lights, so what we are doing is that we have come up with an SI.”

He noted that the minister was going to Parliament by March 2024 to reconfigure the TSCZ and give it more power to enforce the laws and the by-laws.

Mr Sibanda said by January 2024, all public transport vehicles will have speed limit devices.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said: “The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development has also roped in the police in terms of the Zimbabwe Management Transport Information System (ZIMTIS) project and this project includes the issue of speeding and general compliance to the country’s road rules and regulations. 

“That’s why we are saying we are fully behind what some transporters have done when they said police can you assist us in terms of monitoring their buses while they are moving on the country’s roads through technology. So it’s  work in progress, which we believe other transporters should also play a part in.”

Minister Mhona urged operators, law enforcement agencies and all others involved to ensure successful implementation and operationalisation and adherence to time lines set out in SI 118 of 2023 on speed limiting and monitoring devices. 

“I expect the ministry to provide strategic leadership and craft a robust sensitisation strategy on the same,” he said.

On the new drivers licences, Minister Mhona said he is happy with progress on the issuing of the new drivers’ licence disks.

On accidents, he said: “We will report low statistics of accidents attributed to curbing practices such as use of mobile phones while driving, speeding, street racing, and overtaking in driving situations where it is unsafe to do so.” 

Speaking at the event, Minister Charles Tavengwa also expressed concern over an increase in road accidents especially during the festive season and urged drivers to obey traffic rules and regulations.

Herald

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