By Petronella Sibeene
Namibia Bus and Taxi Association (Nabta) president, Magnus Nangombe, has appealed to bus owners to be sensitive towards customers and refrain from displaying political party flags on public transport vehicles.
“We cannot mix business and politics as business entrepreneurs,” he said, noting that this could be an infringement of the rights of passengers who might not support the party whose flag is displayed on a taxi.
“Public transport vehicles are told to conduct business and deliver services to the public irrespective of their political parties. Therefore, the association strongly condemns the practice, ” said Nangombe.
He said displaying political party flags has become a norm and has the potential to damage an entire industry.
“The display of political party flags on public passenger transport is strongly condemned by the association,” he said.
He added that the association consists of Namibians who come from various political parties, religions, tribes and sexes. Because of that, he urged regional chairpersons to ensure that operators in the industry desist from such practices.
He reiterated that taxi and bus drivers should stop the practice with immediate effect as this might cause a decline in the business income because customers could refuse to board vehicles that might not display flags of their political preferences.
Nangombe also called on the regional structures to forward recommendations regarding the removal of seats in buses.
This comes after the Government early this year announced that operators in the industry should adhere to the Road Traffic and Transportation Act of 2001 that specifies the number of seats a particular vehicle should have.
This provision stipulates that seating accommodation in buses transporting 16 and more passengers should be provided at a rate of 400 millimetres per person, or 380 millimetres per person in the case of a minibus with a carrying capacity of more than nine, but not more than 16 passengers.
The Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication says some bus owners and dealers opted to instal smaller seats of 340 millimetres in their vehicles to allow space for additional seats that would provide a maximum payload in excess of 25 passengers. This prompted the Government to urge such operators to reconvert their vehicle seats as specified by the law.