INTERNATIONAL truck drivers have expressed joy at the measures the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is putting in place to improve security and safety for them as they work in the neighbouring country.
International Truck Drivers Association chairperson Stanley Mulela said there was remarkable improvement in security and safety measures for international truckers crossing into DRC since that country’s authorities promised to guarantee a safe passage for foreign drivers.
There was tension at Kasumbalesa Border Post following the killing of a Zambian and Zimbabwean truck driver recently.
DRC authorities at a tripartite meeting involving the Zambian Government and international truck drivers held last month following the boycott by drivers to cross into Congo promised to address the alleged harassment and victimisation of truck drivers.
Part of the action promised included reducing the number of checkpoints and security personnel carrying guns.
Mr Mulela said in DRC, the authorities had so far lived up to their promise of ensuring there was reduced harassment and victimisation of foreign truck drivers at the hands of Congolese nationals, including security personnel.
“We have noted a change in traffic officers manning checkpoints. They brought new officers in all the checkpoints where we experienced some forms of harassment and victimisation,” he said.
He said previously, there were many unnecessary checkpoints, but that most of them had been removed.
“So far, they have shown us positive signs in terms of implementing what was agreed during our meeting aimed at addressing the drivers’ security and safety concerns,” Mr Mulela said.
Minister of Home Affairs Ngosa Simbyakula said the idea for creating a dry port in Zambia to be used for offloading goods by trucks destined to the DRC would be pursued if the Congolese authorities fail to act on the agreed security measures.
“Remember at our meeting, we discussed a number of security and safety concerns for truck drivers and so we will wait to see.
“If we see that they mean that, there will be no need for a dry port,” Dr Simbyakula said.