Some workers in Windhoek were left stranded at bus terminals in Katutura yesterday morning as minibus drivers refused to operate, claiming they are being treated unfairly as they are only allowed half of their capacity while municipal buses load to full capacity.
The secretary general of the Namibia Bus and Taxi Association (Nabta), Pendapala Nakathingo, said the minibus drivers are aggravated by the alarming fines they receive from traffic officers for loading more than half of the vehicle’s capacity.
However, spokesperson of the City of Windhoek Harold Akwenye dismissed these allegations, saying the matter was resolved two weeks ago already.
“That is not true. We were summoned to the Khomas Regional Council where that matter was discussed, and we were instructed to load only a quarter of the passengers,” he said.
Akwenye further explained that the city has two types of buses with different loading capacities, and each bus is now instructed to load a quarter, not half, of its passenger capacity.
“Maybe there is more than what you are told. We are fully obeying the regulations. Our buses are being inspected by traffic officers from the City Police and Nampol. There is no way they will load more than we are instructed to load,” he reiterated.
Revised admission of guilt fines against transgressors of Covid-19 regulations, put in place to mitigate the spread of the virus, were gazetted in January 2021, and are now being enforced.
The City of Windhoek recently increased their bus fare, effective from 12 July, because of the reduced number of passengers allowed on board.
However, Nakathingo said there seems to be an inconsistent issuance of traffic fines when it comes to public and municipal bus drivers.
He unequivocally stated that the
municipal buses are defying the health regulations.
“When the people got stranded there today (Wednesday), the municipal buses were called in, and I saw them loading to full capacity. It is not fair, and this matter needs to come to an end. Therefore, our members are very angry,” he argued.