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Drivers threaten to down tools next week

Specialised drivers in the country have announced plans to hold nationwide demonstrations on Monday, over what they describe as government’s failure to address their concerns.

Under the Professional Drivers Union and Truck Drivers Association umbrella, the drivers are accusing transport authorities of failing to implement issues that were agreed during their meeting of last November.

Among other issues, the drivers insist they feel cheated by the government for not reducing their passport fees to the agreed K60, 000 and that they are being paid less than the set minimum wage.

In an interview with Capital FM, Mphatso Mollen who is the Secretary General for the Professional Drivers Union also lamented the influx of foreign drivers.

This is despite the availability of a high number of unemployed Malawian drivers.

“Following a meeting on 19 November 2020, chaired by Ministry of Transport when we discussed matters that concern drivers in presence of all relevant stakeholders, the government and all concerned parties agreed that drivers will not go for examinations when renewing expired PRDP with effect from 10 November 2020. The speech was made by Minister of Homeland Security and later approved by his counterpart from transport,” claim the drivers.

In a letter that has been addressed to 5 ministries, the Malawi Police and other ministerial departments, the drivers are also demanding the removal of Covid-19 certificate fees.

“Remove Covid-19 certificate fee for all cross border drivers, they are essentially service providers and there is no need to punish them with $50.” Reads part of the letter.

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When contacted for comment, Deputy Transport Minister Nancy Chaola Mdooko indicated that she would be meeting the concerned drivers tomorrow (23 April 2021).

“We have schedule a meeting with them (drivers’ representatives) tomorrow around 9 o’clock, so I cannot disclose much,” she emphasized.

In November last year, truck drivers protested and closed some border posts over border-crossing regulations and passport renewal fees among others.

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