Roads Authority Chief Executive Officer, Conrad Lutombi, called on all stakeholders to support the Vehicle Mass Bill to be tabled in the Cabinet soon.
Speaking at a stakeholder consultative session on the drafting of the Vehicle Mass Bill last week in Windhoek, Lutombi emphasised on the importance of the law in terms of protecting the road which plays a role in achieving national development.
“This Bill will culminate in a new Act that will regulate vehicle load countrywide. Overloading is a technical offence and the prescripts of the criminal law are ill-suited to manage the loading of vehicles.
“Roads are an integral part of the transport system. A country‘s road network should be efficient in order to maximise economic and social,” he said.
Lutombi added that Cabinet has on numerous occasions stated its commitment to legalise road traffic offences and this draft vehicle Mass Bill is the first step.
In order to fully support the law, 11 weighbridges are under construction in various Regions such as Walvis Bay, Rosh Pinah, Oshivelo to name few, with talks of additional weighbridges in the pipeline.
As emphasised by Lutombi, the spread of the weighbridges in all corners of the countrywide are to prevent any driver searching at escaping from going through that control.
Overloading has been characterised as a major contributor to preventable road accident and as pointed out by Eugene Tendeluke chairperson of the committee an estimate of 1,8 billion is annually spent on the cost of road accident while over 700 million is used on the maintenance of road network.
Transport, Ministry of works (MWT) under Secretary Phillip Amunyela stressed that it is high time to ensure that road infrastructure are preserved.
“Overloading continues to cause serious damage to our road infrastructure and as a result costing the government millions of dollars in maintenance coast,” he noted.
Amunyela touched on the study done to ‘review the overload control strategy’ conducted in Namibia in 2008 which highlighted that various deficiencies were found in the current system.
As part of the study, a benchmark with countries like Zambia, Tanzania, South Africa, New Zealand and Singapore were undertaken
Some of the deficiencies show that, the wrong person, namely the driver is prosecuted instead of the operator who is in charge of the overloading of the vehicle.
The fines issued by Law Enforcement officials and courts have no bearing to the damage caused to the road infrastructure.
He continues that if the new bill is tabled it would ensure that the accountable person associated with the transgression being the operator is held responsible and the resultant fees are equal to the damage caused taking into consideration the distance of travel and extent of overloading involved.