WINDHOEK – The Ministry of Works and Transport has recognised the Namibia Bus and Taxi Association (Nabta) as the only ‘legally mandated’ association to deal and regulate the public transport sector in Namibia.
The Minister of Works, Erkki Nghimtina, issued a statement yesterday in which he informed village councils, town councils, city councils, municipalities and all relevant authorities to make available land for Nabta’s use as loading terminals. The ministry said it had perused the report of the Nabta congress, its constitution and its certificate of registration from the Labour Commissioner and is therefore convinced that the association has fulfilled its obligations as required by law. “As the ministry responsible for all transportation in Namibia, we would like to see the public transport properly regulated,” said Nghimtina, urging institutions to engage with Nabta to make sure that land for loading terminals, taxi ranks and other public transport related services is provided to the association.
Nabta national chairperson, Pendapala Nakathingo welcomed the news and accused the rival Namibia Public Passenger Transport Association (NPPTA), a breakaway faction, of operating like a ‘shebeen’. He said those who left Nabta did so for personal reasons and apparently claimed that Nabta had become an affiliate of the Swapo Party. Nakathingo said public transportation in the country has become chaotic and everybody was operating lawlessly. He said the reason the Ministry of Works decided to recognize Nabta is because of its operational structures, something the other association cannot not boast about. The secretary-general of the NPPTA Nathan Africa said the news came as a real shock. He said if that is the case, then the announcement was in conflict with the letter they received on April 08 this year, in which the ministry indicated that it is willing to work with the NPPTA provided that their aims, objectives and operations are not in conflict with the provisions of the Road Traffic and Transport Act of 1999.
In the letter read to New Era, the ministry said that the Road Traffic and Transport Act of 1999 (Act 22 of 1999) and the Road Traffic and Transport Regulations of 2001 had not come into effect and therefore did not make provision for the recognition of associations. “Pending the publication of the proposed amendment to the old Road Traffic and Transport Act and regulations on the recognition of associations, the publication is subject to the recommendations of the sustainable urban transport master plan and the integrated transport master plan, which are both due for completion in due course,” stated the letter.
NPPTA officials say the letter was the last communication they received from the ministry until the latest announcement bestowing sole recognition on Nabta. The NPPTA currently has a delegation in Germany to study that country’s transport master plan. The organization was formed last year by a powerful coterie of disgruntled transport operators.
By Magreth Nunuhe