Tendai Rupapa Senior Reporter
MORE than 500 000 vehicles countrywide are unroadworthy, while the same number of drivers are not licenced, a situation that has resulted in fatal road carnages, a Cabinet minister has said. Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Obert Mpofu said Vehicle Inspection Department officials would continue mounting roadblocks in conjunction with the police to make sure that all unroadworthy vehicles were impounded to bring sanity on the roads.
He was speaking at the commemoration of the 35 Dzivarasekwa accident victims, most of them vegetable vendors who died on March 7, 2007 on their way to Mbare Musika, after a commuter omnibus they were travelling in was hit by a train at a railway crossing.
“According to our assessment, over 500 000 vehicles are not road worthy thereby exposing other motorists to danger, leading to loss of lives,” he said.
“As a Ministry, we are liaising with other stakeholders to ensure that we come up with a legislation that will put an end to the carnage on our roads. We want discipline on our roads, therefore motorists should adhere to required traffic safety rules.
“We are looking into it, we are actually coming up with measures that will make it very difficult for those drivers who misbehave on our roads and we are serious and this is going to be very soon. The Government is not going to fold hands whilst the unwarranted wanton distraction of lives carries on.”
Minister Mpofu said that penalties which were being passed by the courts on negligent drivers were not deterrent enough.
He said road traffic deaths and injuries were to a greater extent preventable if all road users exercised due care.
“The ministry has started taking corrective action to stabilise and reverse the accident trend by coming up with a strategic plan on road safety in order to achieve measurable national targets,” said Minister Mpofu.
“The Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe, with legal backing, and to which Government is striving to provide adequate and sustainable financial and material resources, will ensure the achievement of the target.”
Minister Mpofu said his Ministry identified all the black spots in the country and corrective action was being taken on some of them.
He said on the Nyamaropa-Nyanga Road, the black spot at which 89 lives of pupils from Regina Coeli Mission were lost in 1991 has been corrected by putting rubble strips and improving the sign-age. In an interview Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe managing director Mr Obio Chinyere urged motorists to be cautious on the roads, especially this festive season.
One of the Dzivarasekwa accident survivors, Ms Neria Chandaita who sustained a fractured leg said life has never been the same after the accident.
Ms Chandaita said that she used to depend on vegetable vending, but now it was difficult for her since she could not walk properly due to the injuries.
An unemployed Ms Loveness Mubawu who lost her husband in the accident said she was struggling to make ends meet since she was left with six children.