RTSA grounds Mazhandu

THE Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) has with immediate effect suspended the operating licence for Mazhandu Family Bus Services after Tuesday’s road traffic accident which claimed the lives of 10 people on the Great North Road.
And Minister of Transport and Communication Brian Mushimba says RTSA has taken the right step to suspend the operating licence for Mazhandu Family Bus Services.
Ten people died while 25 others sustained injuries after a Kitwe-bound Mazhandu Family Bus Services Higer bus collided with a truck in Kapiri Mposhi near Vuba Farm.
RTSA chief executive officer Zindaba Soko said preliminary investigations have revealed that the accident was caused by over-speeding.
Mr Soko said at a press briefing in Lusaka yesterday that Mazhandu Family Bus Services road safety profile has deteriorated over the years resulting in loss of lives.
“Our investigations have revealed that Vincent Hang’andu [driver of the bus] lost control due to over-speeding and swerved into the opposite lane where the bus collided with the south-bound freight liner truck,” he said.
Mr Soko said that the bus had a mechanical fault the previous day but the driver used the same bus to proceed despite assuring passengers that the company would send another bus to continue the journey.
He said Mazhandu Family Bus Services has failed to address the challenge of overspeeding among its drivers despite several engagements with RTSA.
Mr Soko said RTSA expects the company to stop its operations in the next 24 hours.
He said RTSA has been left with no option but to suspend the company’s operating licence.
Mr Soko said the licence will only be restored if the company adheres to conditions to be given by RTSA.
He has urged commuters to report any suspicions of a faulty public service vehicle to RTSA to curb road traffic accidents.
And Mr Mushimba said in an interview yesterday that he is saddened by the continued loss of lives through the same bus operator within a short period of time.
“RTSA have taken the right step by suspending Mazhandu’s operating licence. We cannot continue losing people’s lives through the same bus operator. Something surely has to be done about it,” he said.
In April last year,  RTSA suspended the operating licence for Mazhandu Family Bus Services after RTSA  investigations revealed that between January 2015 and February 2016, four buses belonging to the operator were involved in road traffic accidents which resulted in loss of lives.
And Mazhandu Family bus services management said in a statement issued in Lusaka yesterday that the company has instituted thorough investigations into the cause of the accident and that an appropriate action will be taken upon completion.
The statement also indicated that the company will liaise and work with other stakeholders conducting investigations to find an appropriate solution to the problem.
Mazhandu Family Bus Services has extended condolences to the affected families.
Mazhandu Family Bus Services has a workforce of 230 and a fleet of 52 buses
Meanwhile, ALVIN CHIINGA reports that Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) executive director Pukuta Mwanza has appealed to drivers to exercise maximum caution on the road to avoid road traffic accidents.
Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCC) secretary general Cleopas Lungu said the Catholic Church will always work with organisations such as the RTSA to ensure that there is a reduction in road traffic accidents.

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