The Transport Ministry, through the National Overland Transport Institute (INATTER), is stepping up inspection of buses making interprovincial and international journeys in order to avoid traffic accidents during the festive season.
Deputy Transport Minister Manuela Rebelo warned of the tighter inspection regime on 4 December when she visited Maputo's main interprovincial and international bus terminal.
In the past, the holidays have also seen an increase in traffic accidents, with their toll of deaths and injuries. "We are instructing INATTER to be stricter in its inspections", said Rebelo. "We do not want our citizens to be carried in vehicles that are not fit for the journey".
INATTER would also be looking at the inspection centres where all vehicles are supposed to be checked once a year. "There are cases of vehicles which pass the inspection, but are not fit to be on the roads", accused Rebelo. "We can't allow this to happen".
She told reporters she was concerned at some of her findings at the terminal. Some vehicles were overcrowded, and in some cases the forms containing the names of the passengers were badly filled out. She also accused the associations of road transport operators of charging their members exorbitant fees.
The minister refused a request by bus companies to lift the ban on 15 seat minibuses carrying passengers on interprovincial routes.
She also turned down a request to allow long-distance buses to travel through the night, since she was sure that night transport increased the risk of accidents. "We are working to reduce the number of traffic accidents", said Rebelo, "and so we cannot take measures which might bring problems. The transport operators need to organise themselves to carry passengers safely, complying scrupulously with the requirements and rules laid down for this activity".