A private minibus in which six people died following a accident that overturned several times after a tyre burst in Nyimba
FILE: A private minibus in which six people died following a accident that overturned several times after a tyre burst in Nyimba

STATEMENT ON THE USE OF TOYOTA HIACE MINIBUSES AND OTHER UNSUITABLE FORMS OF PUBLIC TRANSPORT BY THE DIRECTOR AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER – ROAD TRANSPORT AND SAFETY AGENCY (R.T.S.A)

13TH OCTOBER, 2017

MEMBERS OF THE PRESS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

Zambia has one of the highest accident rates in the world and relatively high on the African continent due to various initiatives that are not in place and government is concerned with the scenario we as the Road Transport and Safety Agency are a means to make things work better.

I hereby wish to clarify to the nation the wrong message being sent to the general public in various sectors of the society.

The Road Transport and Safety Agency (R.T.S.A) made a proposal to government among other things to ban the importation of second hand tyres, the restriction in vehicle age for importation, importation and appropriate use of the types of buses for our local routes.

The proposal on the importation of second hand tyres was received and the Ministry of Transport and Communications guided that we form a technical committee to ensure that we maintain the importation , but with standards that will be guided by ZABs who are the custodians of the standards in Zambia and are part of the committee of other stakeholders that have been engaging in looking at the proposal on vehicle age limit for importation and the technical committee is looking into the matter before a final decision can be made.

The process includes a string of wide consultation programs that are being designed for passengers to be able to have a standard for purposes of safety and comfort for all commuters as the current form of buses for local routes is not suitable.

A statutory instrument was issued that all vehicles in the country including Hiace buses should have seatbelts by 4th June 2017. However, the Ministry of Transport and Communications extended the implementation of the SI to January 2019.

This is to allow the Ministry of Transport and Communications too engage other stakeholders such as Ministry of Finance and ZRA so that a tax relief could be offered to those that are importing buses with seat belts.

Further the proposal includes a named model of a bus which the country should adapt with all stakeholders being involved.

After that the RTSA will continue, as indicated in its proposal to systematically phase out the current buses in a manner that instead of being deprived of benefit operators should be empowered by being able to own these buses as operators and as drivers through a scheme that will enable them import these buses at a relatively reasonable price and affordable like the current scenario is on purchase of Hiace buses.

We intend to look for a model that will allow the “buy off” of these Hiace mini buses from individuals or owners to enable them purchase the model which will be agreed as a standard for the country.

Further, members of the public may wish to understand that we are coming from the liberalization of the economy in 1991 where we did not have proper standards for our transport system and we have lived with this challenge for many years. I want to dispel unfounded and inconsistent assertions out there that we want the HIACE minibuses abolished immediately.

This is going to be done in a well-coordinated and cost effective manner and to further note that you cannot correct a 30 year old problem in a day, week, month or year but in a gradual and systematic transition over a period of time.

If facilitation is made for you as member to buy a better, comfortable, durable and safe bus at almost the same cost that you buy a panel van and fabricate seats why not go for the better option.

The reasons for such a proposal is for the safety and comfort of our commuters. You may be aware that vehicles without seatbelts increase the chances of people dying in an event of an accident, the leg room, the head room on these buses poses challenges to commuters and greater challenges to our physically challenged commuters.

When there is a crash passengers are killed as a result of the nature of the buses which are used to carry building material and cargo in other countries that we import them from. It shall however be noted that as long as those people with Hiace buses manage to put seatbelts, they will be allowed on the road until when the changeover period of time stabilizes then we will phase them out at no cost to owners of these buses. What we are talking about is a scenario where vehicles without seatbelts are on the road.

As the Road Transport and Safety Agency we are proposing lower or no taxes on these importations for a reasonable period of time so that the public can be given incentives to be able to afford the purchase of brand new and relatively new second hand motor vehicles because with the massive road infrastructure projects like the Link Zambia 8000, Zambian citizens deserve better forms of transport.

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20 COMMENTS

  1. WHO WROTE THIS ARTICLE? IF IT CAME FROM THE C.E.Os OFFICE THEN ITS THE WORST CEO ZAMBIA HAS, YOUR ARTICLE IS SO HARD TO UNDERSTAND WHAT MEASURES YOU HAVE PUT IN PLACE , BECAUSE THEIR ARE NO PUNCTUATION MARKS , IT SEEMS A WHOLE PARAGRAPH IS ONE SENTENCE, HOW CAN ONE READ WITHOUT BREATHING OR POSING ? FROM THE LITTLE I HAVE UNDERSTOOD, THEIR IS NO COORDINATION AMONG STAKEHOLDERS SUCH AS RTSA RDA MOT STATEHOUSE,RTSA WUD WORK UP AND ISSUE A STATEMENT THAT MOT SHOOTS OUT HAHAHA…YABA KANGAROOS

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    • I agree with you entirely. This statement has left me even more confused. The statement is written in a disjointed verbal form thereby making it very difficult to understand and not fit for purpose . Whoever wrote this rubbish is not fit for this job. Who employed him? No wonder there’s so much confusion at ratsa.

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  2. THERE IS NOTHING LIKE GOOD SECOND TYRES………….YOU ARE JUST SIGNING YOUR DEATH WARRANT BY USING THEM

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  3. THERE IS NOTHING LIKE GOOD SECOND TYRES………….YOU ARE JUST SIGNING YOUR DEATH WARRANT BY USING THEM

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  4. Accidents involving public vehicles have nothing to do with bad tyres. It’s mainly due to corruption on the roads by policemen. Lots of drunk drivers who simply pay the cops to drive on the roads. Reckless driving is due to luck of seriousness by ratsa to do their job.

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  5. Frustration is also one of the major cause of accidents on our roads. The dual carriageway needs to be finished quickly. The roads are conjested with slow moving trucks and people need sometimes to get to places quickly and also the numerous road blocks do not help

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  6. All mini busses should be banned. They only cause mass congestion and chaos. How do people even board these death traps with no lights, bad breaks, and drunk drivers? Passengers should beat such operators for disrespecting their safety!

    Sorry mini bus drivers. You’ve been a nuisance for too long. You congest the roads and intimidate the police/RATSA from enforcing all safety standards only for your benefit. Time for proper large city busses instead!

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  7. This project failed in S.A. wen they wanted to phase out tuma hiace before world cup 2010. However, what proposal has RATSA made towards widening the roads especially highways, putting up road signs, removing atm roadblocks etc ? I’m sure these are among the many causes of accidents

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  8. As others before me have said, this is a terrible article! One wonders from which office it came from and on what authority. Complete waffling. Other than the content, the grammar is terrible. I really hope its substandard nature is the fault of LT editing or copy-pasting it wrongly….otherwise if this came from a senior official at RTSA, it is no wonder we have the chaos on the road that we have. Whoever issued this statement and the person who authorised it for posting/publication are not fit for purpose!!

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  9. The issue here is the insistence that one type of bus will replace the Hiace bus. Why one type and who is selling them? Why not just stipulate that any 16 seater bus is welcome as long as they have prescribed seatbelts. Yes, 16 seaters because of the congestion of Lusaka roads but more especially the small bus stations.

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  10. These small buses are an inhuman form of transport. They are not meant for 16 people but that’s what these operators do! They overload the buses! Enough is enough I truelly believe the majority of Zambians would want the buses banned because they are a hellish means of transport- or if you cannot ban them then see to it they carry less people say 12 passengers as they are meant to- this can be achieved by simply inspecting at the stations, the point of loading, educating the passengers and imposing very heavy fines for overloaded buses.

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  11. Ctn..In SA they don’t overload the buses as they do here in Zambia, that is why those buses are still used there – they carry 12 or less passengers. You know bus operators are not the majority in Zambia so better then to either ban these buses or ensure they start carrying fewer people- mounting random roadblocks is not the solution. Inspect the vehicles at the point of loading at the bus stations and at designated points such as at district road checkpoints. As well as to educate the public to not board overloaded buses, impose heavy fines or remove licenses of bus owners caught overloading.

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  12. Do the right things first.you have to identify where the problem is coming from.don’t just make statements without finding out the real causes of these accidents. Recently power tools bus was involved in an accident and people perished,(mtsrip),was this a haice bus.Stop misleading the nation because you have some hidden interests in this.do you want to use Zambia as a market for your to be proposed standered buses?we know you thoughts.The main issue is to sought out the road network period and not your stupid recommendation

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  13. The comment from Anyoko is fairly correct but you are also lacking in the use of correct vocabulary. Kindly check the difference between “Their and There”. We seem to have problems with grammar and syntactical use of English language. Come on guys cultivate the reading habits not just buzzing!!!!!

    J.Kunda

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    • JACK SO LONG YOU HAVE GOTTEN THE MESSAGE – ENGLISH IS TOO FOREIGN TO BE GIVEN ALL THE ATTENTION. THANKS THOUGH FOR YOUR OBSERVATION

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  14. PLEASE CONSIDER WAVING IMPORT TAX FOR BRAND NEW TYRES . PEOPLE GO FOR 2ND OR 3RD HAND TYRES BECAUSE THE 1ST HAND ONES ARE TOO EXPENSIVE FOR A COMMON ZAMBIAN. PLEASE BA RTSA SUBMIT THIS BRAND NEW TYRE TAX WAIVER TO THE COMMITTEE FOR APPROVAL.

    ZABS ARE OVERWHELMED AND MAY EASILY BE CORRUPTED BY THESE 2ND HAND TYRE DEALERS – SO THAT IS NO SOLUTION AT ALL.

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  15. u people if u are rich stop talking about small buses are u trying to make president Edgar Lungu to lose elections in 2021 go ahead with your plans and see Wat will happen this small buses ond with as poor people stop mistreating as we voted for this government and we can remove the government try and see

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    • We know that zindaba soko is trying to bring people from Australia so that they start transport business Wat about Zambian the people who voted for pf is pf for soko o Zambian people please remove him before its to late ba lungu we are crying from u

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