The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) is set to audit companies operating matatus to weed out those that have not formalised employment of their workers.
The NTSA requires that the 707 matatu saccos and companies provide written contracts with their employees in compliance with labour laws and regulations including on statutory deductions as well as health and safety of the work place.
Non-compliance has been linked to increased road carnage as drivers rush to hit unrealistic targets set by matatu owners.
“We will be doing an audit on the saccos to weed out those that do not have robust internal policies including employee contracts that take care of employees’ welfare,” said Samuel Musumba, NTSA’s road safety strategies and county coordinator.
The NTSA regulations of 2013 demand that prior to being issued with an operating licence, public service vehicles (PSVs) must submit contracts of the drivers as well as a staff list accompanied by their job description and qualifications.
Failure by the saccos and companies to effectively spell out the roles of operators has seen individual PSV owners retain control and management of the day to day running of their vehicles.
Without contracts, the drivers lack job security and have to meet targets set by the PSV owners or risk losing their jobs.
The rot in the matatu industry has slowly crept back as crews return to their bad old ways — making a mockery of the Traffic Amendment Acts 37 and 38 which came into effect on December 1, 2012.
The reforms aimed to enhance safety and comfort in public travel had raised hope in an industry that has for a long time been chaotic.
With the amended laws came hefty fines and penalties for violations such as careless and dangerous driving, failure to wear uniform by public service vehicle crew, carrying excess passengers and speeding.
Similar efforts by the late Transport minister John Michuki had restored order in a sector that was synonymous with impunity and deaths caused by rogue crew who operated poorly maintained vehicles.
It however seems the punitive terms only worked to jolt the rogue crew temporarily after the initial wave of enforcement slowed down.