The decision by South African Government to start restricting movement of left-hand drive (LHD) trucks in their country has sent shockwaves to local transporters.
The transporters under their umbrella body, Road Transport Operators Association (Rtoa), have since asked Malawi Government to intervene and lobby for an extension of the time.
They fear they will be pushed out of business.
Rtoa executive director Chrissy Flao and Minister of Transport and Public Works Malison Ndau confirmed having been informed about the restriction.
“South Africa has been pushing for a ban and we are afraid that if this is done now, many truck owners will be out of business. We have many members who have left-hand drive trucks. South Africa is our biggest destination and if they stopped us then we are doomed,” said Flao.
“What government needs to do now is to notify all truck owners in Malawi to stop importation of left-hand drive trucks and allow those who have already imported to proceed.
“We believe that in five years, the trucks could have made enough money for their owners and they will also be in a state that they can no longer be used.”
On his part, Ndau said his ministry has written South African Government to rescind the decision because many local truck owners have LHD trucks.
“We are a small economy and if they stop the trucks now then many companies will be negatively affected
“We have sent our letter to Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and we are expecting a positive response from South Africa,” he said.
One of the transporters in the country, Iqbal Mahommed, owner of Ninkawa Bulk Transport, observed that many countries in the region are banning LHD trucks.
He said: “In Mozambique, transporters have been stopped from importing left-hand drive trucks. What the government has allowed is the use of those trucks that were already bought.”
Mahommed said Zimbabwe has also been pushing for the same ban since 2010 and South Africa is just following suit and is determined to implement it immediately. n