NABTA sabotages Transport Bill consultative meeting: Sankwasa

Deputy Minister of Works and Transport, James Sankwasa said the Namibia Bus and Taxi Association (NABTA) is sabotaging stakeholders' consultative meeting on Public Passenger Transport Bill.

Sankwasa said this whilst expressing disappointment over the low turnout during the consultative meeting on the bill at Ongwediva in the Oshana Region on Monday.

The meeting aimed at soliciting stakeholders' contributions and inputs towards the bill, which will replace the outdated Road Transport Act of 1977 and to harmonise the Namibian transport industry.

Sankwasa said he was dismayed to learn shortly before the beginning of the meeting that NABTA president Vespa Muunda has told members of the association to stay away.

It is alleged that Muunda asked members of NABTA not to attend the meeting because of a long time conflict between him and the secretary-general of the association, Pendapala Nakathingo.

How can people put their personal interest above national interest? Sankwasa asked, adding that lots of government resources was used to organise meeting and government vehicles have been used to ferry officials to Ongwediva for the meeting.

According to Sankwasa, the current Road Transport Act of 1977, which was partly repeal in 2001 as a regulatory instrument to regulate the industry, is at the moment not responsive to public transport needs.

Stakeholders identified for the meeting, Sankwasa said, are such as government offices, ministries and agencies, State owned enterprises, regional councils, local authorities, municipalities, Ministry of Safety and Security, Namibian Police, taxi associations and unions and institutions of higher learning.

It is hoped that the identified stakeholders will indeed contribute positively to the finalisation of this bill, Sankwasa narrated.

He added that consultation on the bill is very important as it will encourage active participation of stakeholders by bringing inputs and innovative ideas in the process of law making.

Muunda was also present, as Sankwasa expressing his disappointment, and when approached for comment denied that he has prevented NABTA members to attend the meeting.

It is not true that I have asked people not to attend the meeting, this is a damage to my reputation and I will not leave it here, Muunda fumed.

The next consultative meeting is scheduled to take place at Rundu in the Kavango East Region on Thursday.

Source: Namibia Press Agency