THE Zambia Roads & Highway Safety Group (ZRHSG) is urging the Zambian Government through the National Road Fund Agency (NRFA) to consider employing the disabled and physically challenged Zambians to work in the toll gate booths country-wide as a way of empowering them.
The ZRHSG has observed that most toll booths are manned by energetic young men and women who do a job that can easily be handled by Zambians with physical disability.
“As a group we feel the work of collecting funds in the toll gate booths on our roads can easily be reserved for persons with disability. These toll gates provide Zambia with an opportunity to empower this usually neglected and marginalized sector of our society,” says Group Admin Mthoniswa Banda.
The Zambia Roads & Highway Safety Group (ZRHSG) feels such as act would release the many energetic young men and women, women of whom are school leavers into more challenging work in other departments and or into further studies into better ways of manning tolls and improving the country’s dilapidated road network.
“Having traveled around the country through the many Toll Plazas now erected on our roads, I am of the view that the job of sitting in a “Toll Booth” and collecting Toll money deserves to be given to the “Physically Challenged” (Disabled), persons. These are a special group of persons and we need to provide jobs to them. Let’s follow the Persons with Disabilities Act, 2012 of the Laws of Zambia…” posted a member of the Zambia Roads & Highway Safety Group (ZRHSG).
“Those toll booth fellas are they college graduates? If yes, we might be wasting human talent and energy. We need all energetic boys and girls where they are needed most in other roads department or road safety,” posted another.
There are many laws and policies that include persons with disabilities in Zambia, but their implementation is limited. The Disability Act of 2012 ensures full and equal human rights and freedoms to persons with disabilities.
As of 2008, it was estimated that around 256,000 in Zambia have a disability in some form. In 2011, it was estimated that the numbers may actually be somewhere between 1 and 2 million people with disability in Zambia.
According to the Zambia National Disability Survey of 2015, initiated by the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services (MCDSS), and implemented by the Central Statistical Office (CSO) and the University of Zambia (UNZA), in collaboration with SINTEF Technology and Society (Norway) and UNICEF Zambia, among persons with disabilities, 41.4 percent of males and 20.3 percent of females said that their level of education while the rest had had challenges getting employed, despite being educated and qualified to get jobs. The study also confirms that persons with disabilities have a lower sense of well being (which measures anxiety and depression) than those without disabilities.
Zambia Roads & Highway Safety Group (ZRHSG) is an online group with over 1,400 members and is for sharing experiences and knowledge on road safety and defensive driving on Zambian roads and Highways by both professional drivers, car owners and the majority road users as passengers or pedestrians. These discussions will help identify road safety issues, bad policies and bad road designs requiring improvement by government and its agencies such as RTSA, RDA, NRFA, ZP and local councils.
Every week, the ZRHSG will produce a statement summarising the group discussion and sharing this opinion with Government Road Safety agencies and other policy makers so they improve Zambia’s Road Safety.