By Khulile Thwala
The Municipal Council of Mbabane is in the process of creating bylaws that will improve public transport operations and traffic management within the Mbabane urban boundary.
This follows major developments which are underway and some having already taken shape, including the proposed bus rank at the Central Transport Administration (CTA) block and at Fonteyn, as well as the recent rehabilitation of roads around the city to regulate traffic.
Through a notice, Council informed ratepayers, associations, professional bodies, and Mbabane residents that they intended to make bylaws that will be known as the Municipal Council of Mbabane Public Transport Bylaws.
The Council further invited written submissions from Mbabane residents, professional bodies, and stakeholders in general to Council before 3 March 2023. Copies of the proposed bylaws are available for viewing at the Civic office Reception from 3 February 2023 until 3 March 2023.
Speaking to the Eswatini Financial Times, Mbabane Municipal Council Information and Public Relations Officer (IPRO) Lucky Tsabedze says the set of bylaws addressed several issues such as passengers living with disabilities and special needs.
“If you are living with a disability or reduced mobility, you have the right to access a bus or mini-bus (kombi) like anybody else. Public transport vehicles will now have an obligation to provide seats for people living with disabilities,” said Tsabedze.
He further said the bylaws would also address the regulation of public transport workers (drivers, conductors and marshals) such as regulating the duties and behaviour of public transport workers in a public transport facility such as the bus rank.
“School buses and vehicles ferrying school children- vehicles ferrying school children and school buses will now be regulated in Mbabane while these laws will also address the regulation of delivery trucks, etc.,” he said.
Tsabedze said in the event some of the laws were opposed completely through public submissions, Council has scheduled stakeholder engagement meetings with interested stakeholders and their submissions will be debated until common ground is reached.
When questioned on when the bylaws would be enforced after the common ground is reached, the Municipal Council IPRO said after incorporating submissions from the stakeholders, Council will submit the bylaws to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.
“It is the ministry which carries the process through Parliament for being gazetted. If an operator is not complying with the bylaws Council may withdraw the operator’s permit to use the public transport facilities,” affirmed Tsabedze.
Recently, public transport operators have been engaging in protests which in turn disrupt the public transport system nationwide, these strikes result in nationwide shutdowns where businesses also remain closed due to the unavailability of customers warranted by the shortage in public transport.