Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) chief executive officer Zindaba Soko says the agency will beat its revenue target by 100 per cent through the use of ICTs, which include speed trap cameras.
And Soko says government vehicles will also be booked for speeding, revealing that he has also paid a fine after being caught driving at 10Km/hr above the speed limit.
Speaking when he featured on Hot FM’s ‘Frank on Hot’ yesterday, Soko said the implementation of the ICTs-based system to deal with fines and payments would increase revenue collection and exceed the agency’s target by 100 per cent.
“The way the cost sharing model is, if you understand a concession, the way it is, is that, as it starts, there is an issue of investment by the investor in these systems. So, there will be a sharing by a percentage as the project starts; a large percentage goes to the organisation investing, then after one, two years, the scenario changes. Government gets the higher percentage and the investor gets the lower percentage. Just to also mention that with this sharing and with the implementation of such a system, this is a scenario that what we were collecting, for example, as an agency in these areas of operation, which is only 25 per cent of our total operations as RTSA, in which this operation is, within a year, we are going to beat our revenue target by 100 per cent. But that’s not our interest; we are just trying to explain that we needed this equipment like 10 years ago; we needed this system like 10 years ago. But because of so many needs that government has in terms of facilitating for various programmes in various sectors; the main sectors like health and education, we are part of the means to be able to help with that scenario,” Soko explained.
And Soko said government vehicles were not an exception.
“You see when you look at the current act, it give exemptions to ambulances, fire engines and the rest, but as RTSA you see this is a scenario that if there was real an emergency that you couldn’t wait for an ambulance and you had to use your private vehicle to rush somebody to the hospital, I think we are a very reasonable organisations and we will be able to get an explanation. That will be waived off. Road safety is for everybody. We can’t say government is safe, [that] government [officials don’t] die on the road. However there is even government vehicles that kill people. So what we are saying is that we are undertaking a holistic approach to this issue. No one is above the law. And by the way, I also received a fine and I paid because I was above speed limit by 10 kilometres,” he said.
Soko reiterated that the agency would not waive fines slapped on speeding motorists.
“Road safety is an issue to do with collaboration and I can see that the main issue here is something that has to do with collaboration. When you look at the notices that were sent within seven days to pay, so we have said within 30 days at least be able to pay. And I think I would be, in any sense, be fair for people who have been compliant, to say, ‘you who have been compliant, you paid,’ and those who have not been compliant we let them go, then we will just dilute the strength of the law,” Soko argued.
“These are cameras which I’m sure you realised in the old scenario that when you pass through a speed-controlled zone, and there are enforcement officers trying to do speed management, once you know that there is nothing there, you take off at your breakneck, excessive speed. Because now, you have been enforced, it’s okay now; ‘I can still speed’ and that’s one of the factors that we have been trying to take away. So, with this system, a speed zone will be a speed zone, whatever speed you do, that zone will be monitored, the average speed monitoring. So, we will be able to know at which speed you will be moving.”
He said the agency would aggressively sensitize members of the public to on the new system to avoid further deaths from road traffic accidents.
“We have realised that the sensitization that was there prior to this installation of speed cameras was not stepped up. It wasn’t stepped up because I think we have got so many platforms of information in the country. We have got social media we have the print media, we have got also electronic media in terms of television and all that, and what we are trying to do now is to make it more aggressive than it was for people to understand and know what is going to happen. There is a tendency of also trying to really ignore information until it hits you that’s when you now realise that this information or this sensitization actually affects me. At the rate we are going in the next five years, we will half this population because of these deaths. And the most effective way to reduce these numbers is the use of ICTs to ensure that people’s lives are saved. It’s serious and we shouldn’t trivialise it,” Soko cautioned.
Meanwhile, Soko admitted that it was the agency’s fault that half of the vehicles in the country were not registered, adding that RTSA would pay half the costs for re-registration to compensate for the inconvenience.
“Re-registration by law is a process that is supposed to be undertaken every 10 years. Currently, as Zambia, we have never undertaken any re-registration since Independence and that is why we are saying we have 765,000 [vehicles], but only 50 per cent of this is known. We are to blame for this, and that is why we have [been] saying, we will carry half the cost for the re-registration. The other half will be paid by the owners,” said Soko.