Transport minister Brian Mushimba says small buses will not not be banned from operating for as long as they will have seat belts and other safety provisions.

Responding to questions from journalists at the same press briefing Mushimba said if there are entrepreneurs that would fabricate seat belts on the current small buses and make them pass the safety tests, they would be allowed to continue operating even in 2019.

“what we are speaking about is SI (Statutory Instruments) number 79 of 2016 which was one of the SIs we signed. We signed a total of 13 SIs and for whatever reason, the restriction on night driving was the only SI that the media picked up very prominently and now they are picking up on this one as well. Better late than never. What the SI says is that ‘any public service vehicle transporting people from one location to the next should have a seat belt.’ Because most statistics and data that we have looked at supports the fact that a seat belt can save life. And we want to make sure that we enhance the chances of someone’s survival if they are involved in an accident,” Mushimba said.

“What that means is that there will be obviously a standard bus that is going to have all these safety provisions that will be introduced on the market because some of the vehicles on the market may not be able to attain that standard of having seat belts. And if they don’t attain that by January 2019, then they will not be allowed on our roads because they will have failed the test to continue transporting our people in dignity and with respect.”

Mushimba said there was no prescription on a type of bus that would be allowed.

“In a case where we have these Hiace buses and they feel they can fabricate seats and seat belts that are going to meet the standard that is set, the SI does not say anything about stopping those. The SI just wants to make sure that every public service vehicle has a seat belt and there is a standard on how that seat belt is going to be because we don’t want a seat belt that is going to expose our people to more danger, we want to be of the standard that is going to be internationally accepted,” said Mushimba.