ONGWEDIVA – The Deputy Minister of Works and Transport James Sankwasa says taxi owners in Zambezi who include the police and high-ranking officials are using Zambian nationals to operate taxis in Katima Mulilo.
He said Zambian nationals are hired daily and cross the border in the morning and leave to go home at night.
“The Zambian nationals are cheaper to hire and cheaper to pay because they are denied their (basic employment) rights,” said Sankwasa.
Sankwasa made the remarks at the Road Public Passenger Transport Bill consultation workshop in Ongwediva on Monday.
Sankwasa was tabling the challenges the transport ministry experiences in delivering an effective, efficient and safe transport system.
The poorly attended workshop sought to to deliberate on the crafted bill before it is enforced into law.
Other challenges include keeping up with statistics of the number of taxis and buses on the road.
“Nobody can precisely say how many taxis are on the road because public transport is not regulated and these are the issues we want to address,” said Sankwasa.
The deputy minister said the ministry with its envisaged new law wishes to decentralise services such as procurement of taxis and bus permits so that it can either be issued at local authorities or regional councils.
He said the current process is cumbersome.
As a result, there are also challenges of unlicensed and uncontrolled drivers on the road.
Equally so, the roads are congested and the taxi market is saturated, robbing those in the business of a decent income.
With the envisaged law, the ministry will be able to regulate the number of taxis in a town depending on the population.
The new law will also foresee that local authorities plan roads, properly demarcated loading off zones, proper bus and taxi ranks and also ensure that national roads have made provision for people with physical disabilities, cyclists and pedestrians.