Diana Nherera Herald Reporter
Transport operators who leave the country every year in search of employment in neighbouring countries are replaced by reckless and inexperienced drivers, thus exposing commuters to danger.
In an interview, the Zimbabwe Union of Drivers and Conductors president, Mr Fradereck Maguramhinga, said there was need to address the welfare of commuter, bus and taxi operators’ and their employees in order to safeguard the lives of passengers.
“Experienced bus and commuter operators and taxi drivers are leaving the country in large numbers each year,” said Mr Maguramhinga.
“There is need to understand what is causing that and how we can retain those still in the country as it will go a long way in reducing the road carnage. From our research, drivers are leaving the country due to poor working conditions. Many do not have employment contracts or benefits,” said Mr Maguramhinga.
He said some of the issues they were working on were the registration of more public transport operators from the 1 000 drivers currently registered with the union.
Transport operators registered with the union undergo driving- related training, defensive driving certification, legal advice and representation when necessary and attend HIV and Aids awareness cam- paigns.
“The Zimbabwe Union of Drivers and Conductors is working on creating a suitable working relationship with stakeholders who include the police, local authorities, drivers and passengers.
“We also teach transport operators the need to respect their passengers and the public as a whole, law enforcement agents and to follow road rules and regulations,” he said.
Meanwhile, an unlicensed kombi driver who hit and killed a pedestrian while driving through a traffic jam in the city has been jailed for two years.
Thozamile Masore (22) was facing two counts of culpable homicide and driving without a licence.
Harare magistrate Mr Tendai Mahwe last week sentenced him to 24 months in prison on the first count but suspended six months on condition of good behaviour.
On the second count, Masore was sentenced to six months in prison, making a total of 24 months on his effective sentence.
In passing sentence, Mr Mahwe said Masore drove the commuter omnibus negligently without a driver’s licence and could not be forgiven.
“Negligence is a cause for concern and reckless driving has become a serious offence in Harare, hence one cannot be forgiven for such behaviour,” he said.
According to the State, Masore was driving a Toyota Hiace along Rotten Row when he hit two pedestrians.
One of them died on the spot while the other was seriously injured.
Masore lost control of the vehicle and rammed into another.
The court heard that seven passengers were seriously injured.