JUSTICE, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister Emmerson Mnangagwa last week blamed the sharp rise in road traffic accidents to sanctions imposed by Western countries against President Robert Mugabe and members of his inner cabal.
VENERANDA LANGA,SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER
He also blamed the rapid increase in vehicle volumes without a corresponding policy change and expansion of the road infrastructure for causing road carnage.
Mnangangwa who is also leader of government business in Parliament said there was urgent need to craft a comprehensive policy to tame the traffic jungle.
He was responding to a question by Masvingo senator Misheck Marava who wanted to know if government had lifted the ban on use of ex-Japanese secondhand vehicles as public transport vehicles.
“The minister will be aware that we have witnessed a lot of carnage on our roads — the major culprits have been the conventional minibuses and the entry into the transport business by small ex-Japanese vehicles, mainly the Ipsums and Noahs,” Marava said. “Last year his (Mnangagwa)’s ministry issued a statement banning the operations of these small vehicles and this led to their disappearance from our roads. Has there been a change of policy with regards to the licensing and operations of these vehicles?”
Mnangagwa said the question of road carnage was of great concern to government.
He said sanctions had seen the country fail to maintain its road infrastructure.
“However, the last three years have seen a resurgence of some economic growth and efforts are now being made on some roads,” Mnangagwa said.
“Those who come from Bulawayo know that a lot of progress has been made by the Ministry of Transport on the construction of the road from Plumtree-Bulawayo-Gweru and now to Harare. That has now improved the state of the roads, as well as widening the roads in our country.”
He said government had already approved schemes to do the same for several other major highways including the Beitbridge- Masvingo, Harare-Chirundu, Mutare-Harare, Bulawayo-Victoria Falls and Harare-Chirundu roads.
“We do not think that the question of issuing of licenses is at the core of the accidents on our roads. We believe that there has been a growth from the economy in terms of motor vehicles on our roads without a corresponding expansion of infrastructure to accommodate the growth of that volume of traffic on our roads,” he said.