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RTSA suspends Scorpion licence following tragic accident

THE Road Transport and Safety Agency has suspended the Road Service Licence for Scorpion Bus Services for violating the terms and conditions upon which the licence was granted.

This comes in the wake of a road crash on April 17 involving a Scorpion bus registration BCA 8977ZM where 14 people died and 16 were injured.

The crash occurred on the Chingola-Solwezi road.

RTSA head public relations Fredrick Mubanga said accident investigations conducted by the agency revealed that the driver of the bus, Eddie Katoyo, was speeding as evidenced by the fact that he overtook several vehicles and subsequently hit into a stationary truck in the opposite lane.

“RTSA records indicate that on 11th April 2019, the same bus driver was reported to have been driving at excessive speed around Chisamba area on Great North Road. He was summoned through his employers, but the operator failed to avail Mr Katoyo to answer to the charge,” he said.

Mubanga said further, investigations into the accident indicate that the driver, Katoyo was not licenced to drive a Public Service Vehicle.

He said it was also established that the driver gave false information to officers when he presented fake documentation stating that he was a holder of a PSV licence when in fact not.

“In a letter dated 15th May 2019, addressed to the director of Beta Build Hardware and Electronics, who’s buses are branded as Scorpion Bus services, the RTSA expressed concern that the operator allowed or employed an unlicensed and inexperienced driver to drive a Public Service Vehicle, undoubtedly putting lives of passengers at risk, further resulting in injuries and loss of lives,” he said. “The operator’s action was described as tantamount to violating the conditions upon which the operator’s licence was granted thus posing serious danger to the travelling public.”

Mubanga said RTSA has therefore, invoked Section 108(16) of the Road Traffic Act No. 11 of 2002 that empowered the Agency to revoke, suspend or vary the terms of a RSL if the conditions subject to which it was granted are not being complied with.
Section 108 (16) of the Act provides that: “A Road service licence may be revoked or suspended in whole or in part or its terms or conditions may be varied by the director on the ground that any condition subject to which the licence or a variation was granted has not been complied with,” Mubanga stated.

It also provides that: “Provided that the Director shall not revoke, suspend or in terms of this subsection, vary such a licence unless owing to the frequency of breach of conditions on the part of the licence holder or to the breach having been committed willfully, or to the danger to the public involved in the breach, the Director is satisfied that the licence should be revoked.”

Mubanga said the agency was of the view that the operator exposed the public to needless danger by employing an unlicenced driver to drive a passenger Public Service Vehicle (PSV).

“In view of the foregoing and pursuant to Section 108 (16), the RTSA has suspended RSL No. NDL22241/1 (and all variations thereto) effective Saturday 18th May 2019. RTSA has forthwith given Scorpion bus services 48 hours from 16th May 2019 to cease operations and thereafter none of the operator’s buses shall be expected to be on the road,” he said.

He said the licence would only be restored subject to the operator meeting conditions the agency had set to address the findings from the accident investigations which included: 1. The company avails all its vehicles to the agency for road worthiness inspection; 2. The company avails all its drivers to the agency for retest; 3. Installing of Global Positioning System (GPS) on the buses using the RTSA recommended installation firm.

Mubanga said the firm would be expected to implement the workplace Road Safety Policy underpinned by the following five factors: Driver management; Vehicle management; Journey management; Health and safety at the workplace; Organisation management and Monitoring and Evaluation.

Mubanga said RTSA will fully facilitate the re-testing and re-inspection of the drivers, buses and monitor the operator in a bid to uplift their road safety profile.

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