The Ministry of Transport and Public Works has lamented that weak laws in roads management are promoting encroachment of road reserves.
Speaking in an interview on Thursday after the ministry appeared before the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, Ministry of Transport and Public Infrastructure director of policy and planning Madalo Nyambose expressed worry that despite issuing stop orders, people defy them and construct in the road reserves.
She said the Public Roads Act of 1962 currently being used has weak penalties, with the maximum fine being about K5 000.
“It is unfortunate that at the moment people in the country do not respect the law when it comes to road reserves.
“A good citizen should acknowledge that there are laws. Should know that there is a road reserve and should not construct but people choose to break the law and still construct in the road reserve areas,” she said.
Nyambose said government is reviewing the laws that will introduce punitive measures on encroachers.
She could not, however, mention the proposed penalties.
Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairperson Shadric Namalomba said there is need to discourage the habit of settling in road reserves, something also contributing to road accidents, loss of lives and property.
“There are people who construct in the road reserves even after being compensated. When the road is being constructed, they move out but after it has been constructed, they come back
“There are others who also target compensation when constructing. They know that there will be a project and when they construct [in road reserve], they will be compensated,” he said.
Namalomba said there is also a need to review the laws but also ensure proper enforcement.
In any road construction, government provides a road reserve for its expansion.