23 Sep 2019 19:20pm
ONGWEDIVA, 23 SEP (NAMPA) Deputy Minister of Works and Transport, James Sankwasa has alleged that the Namibia Bus and Taxi Association (NABTA) sabotaged a scheduled stakeholders consultative meeting on the Public Passenger Transport Bill on Monday, which saw a low turnout.
The meeting was aimed at soliciting stakeholders contributions and inputs towards the bill which will replace the outdated Road Transport Act of 1977 and will harmonise the Namibian transport industry.
While expressing his disappointment over the low turnout, Sankwasa claimed that NABTA president Vespa 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 were used to organise the meeting such as government vehicles used to ferry officials to Ongwediva for the meeting.
According to Sankwasa, the current Road Transport Act of 1977, which was partly repealed in 2001 as a regulatory instrument to regulate the industry, is at the moment not responsive to the current public transport needs.
He noted that stakeholders identified for the meeting included government offices, ministries and agencies, State-owned enterprises, regional councils, local authorities, municipalities, the Ministry of Safety and Security, Namibian Police Force, 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, said Sankwasa.
He added that consultations on the bill are very important as it will encourage the active participation of stakeholders by bringing inputs and innovative ideas in the process of law-making.
Muunda who was also present, as the deputy minister expressed his disappointment, when approached for comment denied that he prevented NABTA members from attending 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.