A suspected State House employee on Saturday slapped one of the journalists and an officer from the Ministry of Works and Supply who had accompanied Ministry of Works and Supply Felix Mutati to impound government vehicles which had no weekend passes but where on the road.
Reacting to the incident, Mr Mutati said he will follow the matter and that the offender will be dealt with as he saw no reason for one to get physical with journalists who were only doing their job.
He said even the President cannot permit such type of behaviour from government employees.
“We had an incident this morning where a person attacked a journalist and also one of the officers from our ministry and its understood that he is from State House. I know that even the president will not permit that type of behaviour, so I have gotten the details of the person and he will be dealt with according to our laws as a nation because we have to begin this journey of correcting wrongs from somewhere.”
Works and Supply Minister Felix Mutati has promised to deal with the culprit saying the path of wasting people’s money should come to an end and to do that government has to start from somewhere.
Darius Choonya, a journalist from CBC Television station was slapped as he was filming those found wanting in the exercise while another journalist Nchimunya from Diamond TV almost had his camera confiscated by the same man.
And Mr Mutati said there is to much wastage of government resources through abuse of government vehicles during weekends.
He said there is need for the people in government to change their mindset towards government property and that path of wasting tax payers money was dangerous and needs to change.
I think its quiet clear from the operation this morning. We have in the back ground a vehicle for the ministry of agriculture where the driver has absolutely no documentation meaning that their is a violation for all the rules and procedures.
The driver has no competent certificate, has no weekend pass and he has no log book so the vehicle has been impounded and we are going to take it to our ministry. We also had an incidence where a person who is not employed by government was driving a government vehicle issued to her husband and that is clearly abuse of government positions and property.
The overall objective we would want to achieve with this exercise is to begin to change the mindsets of our people that we can’t continue on a path of wasting peoples money it is a very dangerous path and it needs to change.
The Minister has promised to revamp the Ministry of Works and Supply by ensuring the ministry plugs off all wastage of resources due to abuse of government property and equipment.
He has also called for stiffer punishement for people found violating rules and procedures as a deterrent for would be offenders as the current fines are not enough to deter them.
Mutati said Government does not celebrate in the collection of penalties and treating it as revenue because that is not the way revenue is collected but that the penalties are directed towards changing the behaviour and mindset of the people, dealing with the merchants of indiscipline.
He said the penalty for the lady who drove her husbands vehicle when she is not a Government employee is K1 000.00.
“And I think we need to have stiffer penalties because that is the apex of indiscipline. Unless we put in the process sufficient deterrents people will continue to take a chance. We need to pay attention to the penalties to make sure we bring this to total control,” he said.
However, in an effort to curb the misuse of Government vehicles Mutati outlined the penalties as follows;
- Driving a Government Vehicle when one is not a Government employee attracts K 1000.00
- Driving a Government Vehicle by an unauthorised Government driver attracts K800.00
- Misusing a Government Vehicle by abrogating the laid down rules three times in six months attracts dismissal.
- Driving a Government Vehicle without a certificate of competence attracts K500.00
- Driving a Government Vehicle under the influence of alcohol drugs or alcohol attracts K250.00
- Parking at an unauthorised place such as bars attracts K250.00
- Over speeding or reckless driving attracts K150.00
He noted that with the said penalties it appears some people take them lightly but was quick to point that stiffer measures to ensure that there is control on usage of Government vehicles will be effected soon.
Mutati said Government cannot continue to be attacked by the people that it is failing to deliver services to them according to expectation because on the other hand it is permitting a process where government resources in terms of transport is being misapplied.
A team of officials from ministry of works and supply conducted checks on Government vehicle usage led by the Minister of Works and Supply himself and the ministries Chief of government transport on Alick Nkhata Road, Kamloops Road, and along great north Road in Kabangwe area.
A total number of 29 vehicles were impounded after drivers were found with various offences, with one lady who is not a Government employee but was driving her husband’s government issued vehicle.
Others were found guilty of driving without a certificate of competence, weekend pass while one had no single documentation on him and others had no Log Books.