Zimbabwe suspends bus companies’ operating licences after crews involved in fatal road race

HARARE – Government has suspended two bus companies’ operating licences after their crews were caught in a fierce road race along a major highway Tuesday, leading to one of the buses involved in an accident that killed one person and injured more than 20 other passengers.

The rough ride, caught on a viral video, ended with the Rimbi bus ramming onto the back of a Shacman Tipper which was travelling in the same direction along the Harare-Nyamapanda highway.

The incident, which happened at the 160 km peg late Tuesday afternoon, was met with outrage among Zimbabweans who felt it was time authorities took action to stop reckless driving among a lot of public transport crews.

Likewise, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona responded Thursday with the suspension of the two passenger transporters’ licences for alleged breach of terms and conditions of their operating licences through involvement in dangerous driving.

In a statement, Mhona said suspension of the operating licences for the two companies was with immediate effect.

“Pursuant to the fatal accident, which has so far claimed one life and caused serious injury of many passengers, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development and other actors in the ecosystem of road traffic management, including the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ) and emergency health services has established the component of human error, prohibited by Sections 51, 52 and 53 of the Road Traffic Act [Chapter 13:17) as the principal cause of the accident.

“Sections 51, 52 and 53 of the Road Traffic Act prohibit driving without due care and attention or reasonable consideration for others, negligent or dangerous driving and reckless driving respectively, which violation is a breach of the terms and conditions of the two operators’ licenses issued for them to operate in Zimbabwe.

“Informed by the foregoing violations and verified videographic circumstances, the Commissioner of Road Transport, after informing the two operators of his intention, and after the operators were given a reasonable opportunity to make representations on the matter in terms of Section 17 (2) of the Road Motor Transportation Act [Chapter 13:15), invoked provisions of Section 17 (1) (b) (i) of the same Act and suspended the licences of Rimbi Travel and Tours and Tashllyt Investments Trading as Zebra Kiss from operating all its omnibuses in all the routes as authorised by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development.

“This suspension is with immediate effect pending corrective measures by the two operators to ensure that they are in a position to resume operations without breach of the terms and conditions under which their licenses are issued,” said Mhona.

Section 17 (1) (b) () of the Road Motor Transportation Act empowers the Commissioner of Road Transport to suspend an operator’s licence where it appears that there is disregard of the terms and conditions of the licences.

Added Mhona, “I have directed that this provision be implemented dutifully, consistently and religiously going forward, with the view to weed out all errant operators from our roads.”

Mhona said he was forced to take the punitive action in view of the road carnage along the country’s roads.

“This is in line with targets contained in the National Development Strategy (NDS) 1 (2021-2025) which seeks to reduce road accidents and fatalities by a 25% margin per annum.

“Going forward, we shall build on this momentum of strict enforcement of road motor transportation and safety for the safety and well-being of the people.”

The minister warned other transport operators that his ministry would not hesitate to take similar harsh measures if they also flouted road traffic rules.

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