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After an angry visit by Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi last month to the Maputo municipal bus company, EMTPM, some of the buses that were off the roads simply for lack of new tyres or batteries are now circulating again, reports the independent television station, STV.
The company has received technical support from Mozambique Railways (CFM), and from the Port of Maputo. Staff from these two institutions identified 30 EMTPM buses that only needed tyres and batteries. CFM and the port guaranteed 180 tyres and 60 batteries.
When Transport Minister Carlos Mesquita visited EMTPM on Friday, he was told that 19 of the paralysed buses would be back on the roads as from Monday. This would bring the number of EMTPM operational buses up from 42 to 61.
Mesquita blamed the problems on “failure to undertake programmed and preventive maintenance, which calls into question the sustainability of the fleet”.
“The company must bank on training its workers, particularly in the technical area, to avoid situations of this sort from recurring”, he said. In EMTPM, a bus battery has a useful life of just six months, “but we know that batteries last for years, if maintenance is done in a regular and preventive way”, Mesquita added.
As Mesquita was leaving the premises after a meeting with the EMTPM Board of Directors, he found there were several more buses off the roads – not because there was anything mechanically wrong with them, but because they were waiting to be refuelled.
Mesquita was irritated that buses should be stopped for want of a few litres of diesel, and pointed out that at this time of day (early evening) there are passengers at the bus stops trying to go home, and several of the buses that should be taking them are just waiting for fuel.
EMTPM is grossly overstaffed. According to the company’s annual report for 2015, it had 819 workers then, but only 53 operational buses – or more than 15 workers for each bus. The company is now moving to slim down its workforce.
Its chairperson, Iolanda Wane, told Mesquita “We are dismissing some workers, notably those who have reached retirement age, and some who have had disciplinary issues”.
When the state-owned Maputo Bus company, TPM, was split into two municipal companies in 2014, one for Maputo, and one for the neighbouring city of Matola, the new Matola company, ETM, found itself with 75 buses, only four of which were operational. But ETM started life with 274 workers – or 68 workers per operational bus.
ETM chairperson Joao Castanheira says that over half those workers have been made redundant and the company now has 120 staff.Source: AIM