Ministry back-peddles on Nabta

25 February 2019 | Transport

The transport ministry has rescinded a press release dating back to 2013, in which it announced that the Namibia Bus and Taxi Association (Nabta) is the legally recognised taxi association that regulates and deals with the public transport sector.

The October 2013 press release urged all village councils, town councils, city councils, municipalities and other relevant authorities to engage Nabta and to ensure that land for loading terminals, taxi ranks and other public transport related services are provided to Nabta, “as the only recognised (legally mandated) association dealing and regulating public transport in Namibia”.

This press release was issued by the then transport minister Erkki Nghimtina on 15 October 2013.

The statement caused some uproar within the sector and resulted in the Namibia Public Passenger Association (NPPA) dragging Nabta as well as the ministry to court to reverse the statement. The matter was, however, dismissed with costs.

NPPA argued the press release violated the rights of their members and that all people have the right to freedom of association and to join any association or union, including a trade union.

Current minister John Mutorwa rescinded the 2013 press release last week, saying this decision was taken after due and diligent consideration of provisions of the Namibian Constitution, the Labour Act and the Local Authorities Act.

“Article 21(1)(e) of the Namibian Constitution provides for the rights of freedom of association which includes the freedom to form and join associations or unions, including trade unions and political parties,” the statement by Mutorwa said.

He said there are currently three registered bus and taxi associations and a trade union registered within the provisions of the Labour Act.

He said the ministry is mandated to oversee issues pertaining to all transportation in Namibia.

“Public transport is regulated by the ministry, by means of powers derived from the Road Transportation Act. Inter alia this includes the appointment of the Road Transportation Board that has a legal mandate to issue public carrier permits, which one would need to carry out public transport operations in Namibia.”

Mutorwa said public transport services within the boundaries of the local authorities are the responsibility of the local authority concerned, as it relates to the regulation of public transport operations and the management of loading animals, providing taxi ranks and other public services.

Last September Nabta again issued a media release saying it wishes to inform all its members and the public that it is holding its position as the only recognised association in the transport sector.

ELLANIE SMIT

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