25 October 2016 Last updated at: 9:03 AM
Drivers fined for carrying matola
The Balaka magistrate court has fined five drivers for carrying unauthorised passengers (commonly known as matola) in the back of their trucks.
The court heard that the five drivers who are Leonard Sitolo, Steven Zagwa, Kasimu Malinga, Joseph Sitola and Isaac Nyamanze were on 12 October arrested after they were caught carrying passengers and goods in non-passenger vehicles.
In court they pleaded guilty to the offence of intentionally endangering safety of passengers travelling by road contrary to section 237 of the penal code.
The five were then ordered to pay fines ranging from K20,000 to K40,000 which they all paid.
First grade magistrate Felix Mandala said he gave such a sentence to deter others from committing similar offences as the country is fighting against the increase of fatal road accidents.
Meanwhile, police have urged drivers of non-passenger vehicles to refrain from carrying unauthorised passengers and mixing people with goods since such acts tend to expose the passengers to extreme danger of being injured or losing their lives.
The police further encouraged people to travel by authorised passenger vehicles such as minibuses and buses to ensure safety and reduce risks of injuries and deaths during accidents.
According to Balaka Police deputy spokesperson Gerald Sumaili, the station has registered eight accidents involving non-passenger vehicles in the district since the start of October only.
“Previously such offenders were just being fined by traffic police but due to the increase in fatal road accidents which most of them involved unauthorised non-passenger vehicles, offenders are being brought before the court of law,” Sumaili said.