Over 800 motor vehicles were impounded for carrying political number plates since January this year, Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) Head of public relations Fredrick Mubanga has revealed.

And Mubanga has disclosed that the introduction of surveillance cameras on the country’s highways triggered a reduction in road traffic accidents by about 10 per cent.

Speaking when he featured on Radio Phoenix’s “Let the People Talk” programme, Tuesday, Mubanga revealed that over 800 vehicles were impounded this year for carrying political number plates.

He stressed that only one vehicle was allowed to carry a political number for each particular political party at a given time.

Following the disputed 2016 presidential election, several vehicles have been spotted on various roads with “ECL 2021” license plates.

“The law is very clear, and we want to inform the public that we have impounded and prosecuted quite a number of such vehicles to over 800 in total in the past one year, so it’s very clear. We have also engaged various political parties on this matter and we told the political party leadership themselves that we are not going to allow this kind of issue. And political parties have distanced themselves that ‘most of these people that are using these vehicles are not even our members’ and that some of them are even using these vehicles for criminal activities. So, there are no sacred cows and we are not going to entertain such kind of things where it’s written ‘boss seven, boss…’ whatever it’s called, the law does not provide for such,” Mubanga said.

“The law only provides for vanity. Yes, if you want to apply for special number plates, we can only give one special number for that matter; if it’s called ‘ECL 2021’, only one person can have ‘ECL 2021’. We can’t allow more than one person to have that. So, only one person qualifies, and if there are those people that are having those others… be it ‘HH one, ECL one’, those are illegal, and we will continue impounding them just like we have impounded others before. We have over 800 vehicles impounded for that.”

Asked if the earmarked motor vehicle re-registration programme would also affect motorists whose vehicles had only been registered in the second or last quarter of this year, Mubanga said discussions were underway to see how individuals could be helped.

“A road map in terms of how we are going to approach this is underway and it will be shared to the public when we will be doing our communication so that we spell out what we are going to give for such circumstances and, of course, how we have tailored this thing during our impact assessment, there will be some questions that we will be asking people and getting feedback. For instance, what will happen for those that have a fleet of more than 10 or 20 and the like? Of course, there will be categories and that will be determined after the impact assessment has been conducted. But we want to assure the public that those issues raised, such as those with a big fleet, those that registered their vehicles in the last two quarters or last one year, how are we going to treat them? Those will be considered and we are going to communicate accordingly,” he responded.

And Mubanga revealed that the introduction of surveillance cameras on Zambian roads had culminated into reduced road traffic accidents by about 10 per cent.

“The introduction of speed cameras has seen road fatalities reduce by 10 per cent. We have managed to control speed with the introduction of speed cameras,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mubanga urged motorists to observe all traffic rules this festive season.

“From us, as the management and staff of the Road Transport and Safety Agency, we want to wish the Zambian people a merry Christmas and a prosperous 2019 and an accident-free festive period. If you are going out during this period and beyond, so is RTSA going out and we will meet on the road. But, of course, we will educate you. If you don’t comply, if you are driving under the influence of alcohol, you will not only be prosecuted, but you will have your diver’s license revoked. So be road smart, life is precious,” cautioned Mubanga.