Freeman Razemba–Senior Reporter
The Government, through the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ) has purchased materials for erecting over 80 road signs along the Rusape-Nyanga Highway where 42 road traffic accidents were recorded during the period between January and October 31 this year.
To date all the poles and junction signs have since been delivered to the Ministry of Transport Maintenance Camp in Rusape, by two local companies—Panox Trading and Penanel Trading which supplies road signs in the country.
This was revealed during a tour of Manicaland Province by Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona who launched the project at Nyabadza Business centre recently. The Minister also personally donated 50 bags of cement to Tombo Clinic un Nyanga, while TSCZ donated a consignment of 90 mattresses, 90 blankets and 90 pairs of bedsheets to Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital in Mutare.
The minister and his delegation also toured the Rusape-Nyanga highway where he was informed by TSCZ officials of the need to erect more road signs along the road, following a road safety audit in response to a spate of accidents on that part of the road.
Minister Mhona also took time to launch the festive season road safety awareness campaign involving the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ), the VID and the Zimbabwe Republic Police to curb road carnage this festive season.
In October, Tynwald High School students in a road accident along Rusape-Nyanga highway. The accident took place after a Tynwald school bus veered off the road and crashed near Pine Tree Hotel.
The bus belonging to Tynwald High School in Harare, had 45 passengers on board, comprising 41 learners and four staff members.
In an interview, Minister Mhona said: “We have been witnessing an increase in the number of road traffic accidents, thus we have found it necessary to raise the bar and raise awareness. All along, the approach has been reactive, but we are now saying we need to be proactive.
“We are aware that before the advent of the Second Republic, many were not aware of the role of the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe. We are now moving a step further and saying, let us have this Traffic Safety Council transformed into an Agency to give them more influence to manage some of the issues affecting road safety. Currently, their influence is very limited because the enabling legislation is not in place. We will be working on this in Parliament.”
Questioned on the effect of the change from a council to an Agency, Minister Mhona said: “We are saying they are currently hindered in their operations because of the legislation that is there. For example, among many other issues, the one to do with the Road Accident Fund is not in place.
“Once the RAF is put in place, it will enable us to pay bills, take care of surviving victims and taking care of those who would have been maimed on our roads. We are happy that we now have a fully constituted TSCZ board as well as vibrant management. We cannot continue losing lives on our roads in this manner.”
TSCZ Managing Director, Mr Munesushe Munodawafa also said, the Council is being transformed into the Traffic Safety Agency as has been announced by Government in the context of the 2023 Budget Statement and Finance Act.
He said the intention was to increase the role, responsibilities and mandate of the institution.
“Currently our powers have been limited to persuasion and moral suasion, but with the transformation into an Agency, this will also come with the power of enforcement.”
“It is anticipated that with the coming on board of the Agency sanity will gradually return to our roads.”