Vic­tory for taxi oper­a­tors

Lesotho Times - - News - Mot­samai Mokotjo

PO­LICE Min­is­ter Monyane Moleleki has re­sponded to taxi-oper­a­tors’ pe­ti­tion out­lin­ing sev­eral griev­ances they wanted him to ad­dress as a mat­ter of ur­gency.

Mem­bers of the Maseru Re­gion Trans­port Oper­a­tors (MRTO), Me­jamet­a­lane Trans­port Oper­a­tors, Star­ring Com­mit­tee, South and North Re­gions Taxi As­so­ci­a­tions and Bocha­bela Trans­port Op­er­a­tion Re­gion pe­ti­tioned Mr Moleleki, Fi­nance Min­is­ter ‘ Mam­phono Khaketla and Pub­lic Works and Trans­port Min­is­ter Tšoeu Mok­eretla three weeks ago high­light­ing a num­ber of con­cerns they wanted ad­dressed within seven days.

The griev­ances ranged from al­leged ha­rass­ment of taxi driv­ers by the po­lice and govern­ment’s de­ci­sion to award a six-month fleet sup­ply and main­te­nance con­tract to South African car-hire com­pany Bid­vest last month “at the ex­pense of Ba­sotho busi­nesses”.

Two weeks ago, the oper­a­tors walked out of a meet­ing called by Mr Mok­eretla over the min­is­ter’s de­ci­sion not to meet them in pri­vate first be­fore invit­ing the me­dia to re­spond to their griev­ances.

how­ever, Mr Moleleki this week re­sponded to the oper­a­tors in writ­ing.

Reads the min­is­ter’s re­sponse: “I closely stud­ied your griev­ances con­cern­ing the po­lice’s con­duct, par­tic­u­larly on the re­moval of three of­fi­cers who you sin­gled out. I did as re­quested, and re­moved them. how­ever, I feel they also de­serve jus­tice. Be­fore we are too judge­men­tal, I think it is only fair that we look into the is­sues you raised with great cau­tion.

“Your first griev­ance re­lates to the un­law­ful ar­rest of taxi driv­ers against a high Court judge­ment. I would like to re­mind you that the duty of po­lice of­fi­cers is to ap­pre­hend, but the de­ten­tion should fall un­der the am­bits of the law. When it falls out­side the law, it is not cor­rect and the po­lice will not be do­ing their job.”

how­ever, Mr Moleleki in­forms the oper­a­tors that the po­lice use their judg­ment when mak­ing an ar­rest.

Mr Moleleki also ex­plained why mem­bers of the Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions Unit (SOU) are now con­duct­ing traf­fic op­er­a­tions. The oper­a­tors had com­plained that the SOU mem­bers ha­rass them as they were not trained to con­duct such op­er­a­tions.

But Mr Moleleki re­minds the oper­a­tors: “Gen­tle­men, let me point out that this po­lice depart­ment’s (SOU) duty from its in­cep­tion in 2002 is con­duct­ing and re­in­forc­ing spe­cial op­er­a­tions, serv­ing as rapid re­sponse unit for emer­gen­cies, re­in­forc­ing or­di­nary op­er­a­tions.

“Con­duct­ing traf­fic op­er­a­tions is meant to help com­bat armed rob­beries be­cause th­ese are highly

trained of­fi­cers.”

Mr Moleleki also re­as­sured the oper­a­tors that his min­istry was de­ter­mined to fight cor­rup­tion among its of­fi­cers.

he added: “In con­clu­sion I would like us to hold hands to­wards com­mon good and be a joint force all the time.”

Con­tacted yes­ter­day, MRTO Pub­lic Re­la­tions Of­fi­cer Le­bo­hang Moea told the Le­sotho Times they held a meet­ing on Tues­day to dis­cuss the min­is­ter’s re­sponse.

“We are not sat­is­fied with some of the an­swers so we asked for a meet­ing with the min­is­ter on Fri­day this week,” Mr Moea said.

“But most im­por­tantly, we are happy that the traf­fic of­fi­cers we com­plained about were re­moved from their posts; they were trans­ferred. As for the other is­sues we’ll need to dis­cuss them fur­ther with the min­is­ter.”

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