JWANENG: The trucking and freight sector has been hit by fraud and corruption, which is likely to kill the industry if not addressed urgently. These sentiments were shared by different participants at the Truckers and Freight industry mini-pitso held in Jwaneng on Wednesday.
An anti-corruption officer from the Ministry of Transport and Communication, Mothusi Dingalo said some of their officers’ ethical conduct remains questionable as they are often caught in the middle of bribery and misconduct allegations. He said some truck owners use the officers to fradulently obtain road worthiness certificates and offer bribes to officers where they fail to comply.
“We have cases where road-worthiness certificates were fraudulently issued and the consequences are that other road users are exposed to danger, which often leads to loss of lives. Some truck owners pay bribes to officers for overloading and it is equally not safe for the public,” Dingalo said.
Dingalo challenged the truck owners to report any corrupt practices and further advised them to adhere to the set standards of trade. He noted that nobody is above the law and there should be compliance for all fairness and safety. Dingalo further said, it is only the truck owners who can end fraud and corruption by refusing to offer bribes.
“We are planning to distribute publicity awareness materials and do dramatisation on the issue to teach the public about such. It is, however, an issue of
Meanwhile, participants also urged the government to respond quickly to industry grievances to avoid increased corrupt practices. They said there are some foreigners who are engaged as drivers though do not have passports, residential permits or even work permits.
The Jwaneng District immigration officer, Charles Kgokong warned that their department has intensified their patrol and raiding to send illegal immigrants back to their countries. Kgokong highlighted that they will leave no stone unturned to ensure compliance in permits and staying in Botswana.
“The truck owner can be fined and sent to jail for employing foreigners with no work and residential permits. You should be warned that doing so is a serious crime,” Kgokong warned. The truckers and freight industry mini-pitso brought together truck owners, drivers and officers from the Department of Roads, Transport and Safety as well as management within the Ministry of Transport and Communication.
It was held under the theme ‘Safe Transportation: Key to Unity and Prosperity’ and the stakeholders came together to introspect and map out strategies to improve the industry.