A BRILLIANT idea that was meant to bring convenience to commuters has now turned into a menace for Basotho in a few years.
I am referring here to the four-plus-one taxis.
When this mode of transport was introduced a few years ago, it fulfilled an urgent need by bridging an obvious gap.
That noble decision to introduce the taxis has become a pain in the neck for other road users in and around Maseru.
I don’t remember a single day that passes where a four-plus-one taxi is not involved in an accident or some other shocking things like abductions.
This is not an exaggeration.
I have made a quick investigation into why these taxis are always involved in accidents and my findings are as follows: first and foremost, most of the drivers of these taxis are not experienced and got their original and public driver’s licenses
Secondly, the drivers are under pressure to make as many trips as possible so that they are left with some cash of their own having reached the daily target.
These targets are not negotiable, you reach it or you are out.
Thirdly, the drivers of the four-plus-one taxis do not respect road signs and regulations.
They get away with this easily as they have befriended traffic officers.
These are the top three major causes of accidents by this mode of transport.
You know the dilemma that the other road users are facing?
The dilemma is this, if your car is bumped and it is insured, the insurer will ask you to pay what they call excess.
It’s a hefty amount depending on the severity of the accident.
Once you have paid the excess, you will wait to be refunded by the insurance company after they have successfully sued the culprit.
If you are lucky, you will be refunded after some period of time and if you are not, too bad u jeoe.
On the other hand, if your car is not insured, you better start repairing it yourself otherwise it is going to be a long wait.
The biggest problem we face as a nation is poverty.
Unless and until we eradicate poverty, things like this will be with us for a long, long time.
No single citizen can do anything about it. We will just have to go on and on until we are saved by the government with stricter and enforceable laws.
It’s a vicious circle, from a clerk in the traffic department, the traffic commissioner, the police constable, to the minister of police, from justice system to law-makers, etc.
All these portfolios need to re-double their efforts, but still, their efforts will not yield any positive result as long as the country is still wallowing in dire poverty — it’s a chain reaction that needs serious economic drive.
So how do we as a nation boost our economy and address these shortcomings? It’s not as simple as that — you can ask Dr Timothy Thahane, finance minister.
We need a government that is able to level the playing field, a government which is essentially business-driven not politically oriented.
The private sector has to be a catalyst from which we target our economic growth.
We cannot expect a miracle; we need a pillar from which to launch our economic drive.
Lesotho has a population of 1.8 million people, slightly above that of Soweto at about 1.7 million.
It therefore defeats common sense to realise that we are struggling economically as a country.
Let’s recoup and move the country where it rightly belongs — in the 21st century.
By Thakabanna Nyokana