Mhunga suspension lifted

In a statement yesterday, Transport, Communications and Infrastructural Development Minister Nicholas Goche said the company’s buses were fit for operation but the provisional restoration of the licence would be reviewed after a year.

Mhunga’s licence was revoked in August this year following a series of fatal accidents that claimed dozens of lives. The triggering factor was an accident along the Harare-Masvingo highway on the weekend before the Heroes holiday that left 40 people dead.

An investigating committee was asked to assess the company’s fleet management system, management structure, establish the inventory of drivers and check the status and suitability of maintenance facilities.

Minister Goche said: "The committee found that the company has a clear organisational structure and qualified staff. The workshop, human resources and finance departments alike are manned by qualified technical staff.

"The committee sampled 11 buses which were at the company’s premises and examined them for road fitness and they were all fit for operations," he said.

Minister Goche added that the committee examined the company’s workshop facility and found it to be suitable.

He said the committee found Mhunga was the major bus operator along the Harare-Masvingo route and within Masvingo province and that its suspension had the effect of unwarranted increases in fares and piracy on those routes.

However, Minister Goche said the committee had also found that the company had too few drivers for its huge fleet.

They recommended that Mhunga closely monitor its drivers and investigate their work histories before offering employment. "In light of my committee’s findings, it is my opinion that the positive aspects outweigh the negatives.

"I therefore hereby provisionally lift the suspension of Tanda Tavaruva Trading as Mhunga Bus Company.

"However, this will be subject to my ministry closely monitoring the company’s operations for the next 12 months, the company being more professional and safety conscious than it has hitherto been and the provisional lifting of the suspension being reviewed within 12 months," Minister Goche said.