11 April 2019

Namibia: MPs Blame Blacks, Rogue Natis Officials for Road Accidents

Windhoek — Dishonest Namibian Traffic Information System (Natis) officials who dubiously sell licenses to unqualified drivers and black drivers in general are contributing immensely to road accidents in Namibia, Swapo MPs charged in the National Assembly yesterday.

Natis is the driver and vehicle licensing agency of the Roads Authority (RA).

Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare Doreen Sioka blamed corrupt Natis officials who issue licenses to unqualified drivers, in exchange for money, as one of the key contributors to rampant accidents in the country.

Sioka, contributing to a debate in Parliament yesterday on what causes road accidents in the country, said: "The problem lies with Natis officials who sell licences to those that don't qualify. There is someone out there (at Natis) making money out of this, and Natis should get its house in order."

Between January and December 2018, a total of 3385 road accidents were recorded, killing 492 people and injuring 5431, according to police.

Contributing to the debate, Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises Veikko Nekundi said "people of my colour", in reference to black people, contribute a lot to accidents because of the wayward behavior on public roads.

"The problem is with people of my [skin] colour. We have developed bad habits. When you go to events, including the recent Independence Day celebrations, you should have seen how they parked their cars on pavements," he said.

He said something needs to be done about certain individuals' driving habits.

"This is serious, this need serious attention from authorities responsible," he said.

Also, contributing to the debate, Minister of Safety and Security Charles Namoloh shot down views that suggest speeding was a cause of accidents in the country.

"The problem lies with the attitude of drivers, when you go to Germany, there is a freeway where drivers are allowed to drive whatever speed they want, so speeding cannot always be the cause," he said.

"If you have observed, these mini bus drivers start as conductors. This is how they learn how to drive. With limited experience, they take over from their superiors and this is a cause for concern," said Rainhold Nauyoma from APP.

The debate was postponed to the next sitting.

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