The Zambezi Regional Governor Lawrence Sampofu has expressed great concern over the misuse and mishandling of government vehicles in the region.
Sampofu told New Era it has come to his attention that officials from various ministries are using government vehicles for personal use.
He said some public servants are using these vehicles for ploughing their fields, going on hunting safaris and drinking sprees.
“We should guard against corruption. We should also guard against misuse of government vehicles. Some go home with the government vehicles over the weekend. Even after hours, they don’t park the vehicles as required. Some even use these vehicles for poaching,” he said.
He warned the corrupt officials to stop such practices with immediate effect, while urging supervisors to put up measures so that the cars are parked at 17:00, except those being used on essential duties after hours.
He emphasised that all government employees must have a responsibility over government properties, saying officials are only given the vehicles to smoothen their working environment because they have to deliver services to communities whom they are accountable to.
Health and Social Services Deputy Minister Juliet Kavetuna recently dug her heels in and refused to accept fault for using her assigned official vehicle to transport three bags of cement recently, despite a public outcry to the contrary.
Members of the public in January set social media platforms ablaze with claims that Kavetuna erred when she used her official sedan to transport cement.
While ministers are allowed to use their official vehicles for private use, transporting cement in a sedan was widely criticised, with many social media subscribers charging that Kavetuna should have used her official bakkie for such purposes, instead of the luxury Mercedes Benz sedan.
Kavetuna at the time told New Era that she saw nothing wrong in loading three bags of cement weighing 150kg in total in her official vehicle, saying the weight was the same as most luggage regularly transported in such cars.
“Contact the ministry of works and ask for the terms of reference on the use of government vehicles by ministers. I can go with an official vehicle anywhere,” she said unapologetically.
Another issue of concern Sampofu raised was that despite efforts by the government to construct multi-million-dollar national roads, it has emerged that road vandalism is rife in the Zambezi where some rogue individuals are using road signs as part of their illegal shooting ranges.
He said although the MR125 Liselo-Linyanti-Kongola-Singalamwe road is open to the public, wanton vandalism is carried out by disgruntled members of the public who destroy and turn the road signs into targets for shooting practice.
“It’s a new road. They are still putting up road markings. But some people are pulling out and bumping these road signs. I don’t know what time they do it but you find that some test their guns on these signs as shooting targets. It’s even dangerous to be using guns shooting at road signs,” he reacted.
He urged community members to take care of these road properties and guard against any kind of vandalism.
The Izimwe-Nakabolelwa road was officially opened on May 20, 2016 and the Namalubi-Isize-Luhonono road is still under construction.
Government is yet to construct the Masokotwane-Sikanjabuka-Sizimbukwa road to connect to Ngoma road, for which the tender was put out on June 28.