ROAD Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) head of public relations Frederick Mubanga says the Agency will continue enforcing the law to ensure that all passenger vehicles fully adhere to the Standard of Operation Procedure, which has been adopted by the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

In an interview, Mubanga said RTSA would continue enforcing the law to ensure that the developed rules were fully adhered to.

“Overloading is a risk in terms of issues to do with road safety and now, of course, when it comes to issues with COVID-19. We will continue enforcing the provisions of the law as regards to overloading. And we want to caution drivers to ensure that they follow the prescribed provision in terms of the number of prescribed capacity on a vehicle in order to promote road safety and to promote the public health measures that government has placed,” said Mubanga.

“We also want to commend the Ministry of Transport and Communications for this move. It’s a move towards the right direction. It’s high time that we started putting in place measures in the transport sector that we see to it that the number of COVID1-19 cases, especially among the travelling public, is massively reduced. It has been noted that public transportation is one of the hot-spot (areas) and so those measures that the Minister (Mutotwe Kafwaya) has put in place if followed collectively, we will see that these numbers of COVID-19, among truck drivers, the travelling public, bus drivers and passengers is drastically reduced. We also appeal to members of the public to avoid non-essential travelling and let them ensure that they are masked-up and drivers and conductors should not at any point allow passengers, who are not masked-up to be on board on public service vehicles.”

On Monday, Transport and Communications Minister Mutotwe Kafwaya issued a statement announcing the new Standard of Operation Procedure which was developed by his Ministry to help control the spread of COVID-19.

“Public transport has been identified as one of the key avenues through which the Coronavirus is spreading in addition to public gatherings, such as funerals and churches. In line with the revised government strategy and measures on the fight against COVID-19 and to prevent the spread of the virus through the public transport system (buses, taxis, and trucks); government, through the Ministry of Transport and Communications, has developed the following standard of operating procedures, which all public transport operators in Zambia should comply with without fail: All public passenger vehicles, both intercity and local, should carry the number of passengers in accordance with the registration requirements. Carrying passengers above the registration requirements is strictly forbidden,” Kafwaya stated.

He also stated that passenger vehicle owners must ensure that their vehicles were disinfected at all times before loading.

“All passenger transport vehicles are expected to be fully disinfected before loading passengers for any route/trip. The owners of the public transport vehicles must provide the necessary cleaning and disinfection materials, while designated drivers and conductors must ensure that vehicles are cleaned and disinfected. All passengers, drivers, and conductors must wear masks to cover their nose and mouth throughout the period of the journey without fail. Any person who contravenes this requirement during or before the journey must not be allowed to enter the passenger vehicle and proceed on the journey. It is, therefore, the responsibility of both drivers and conductors to ensure that their passengers adhere to this requirement and vice versa for drivers and conductors,” stated Kafwaya.