The Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (Sumatra) has suspended operations of all buses owned by Sabena company pending investigation into the competence of its drivers and the roadworthiness of its buses.
The Sumatra decision comes after one of the company's buses with registration number T570 AAM was involved in an accident in which 17 people were killed and 78 others were injured last week.
Preliminary reports said that the cause of the accident was speeding, during which the driver failed to control the bus, leading to its veering off the road and overturning.
A statement released yesterday in Dar es Salaam by Sumatra public affairs manager David Mziray said that the Authority was doubtful about the quality of the company's buses and competence of its drivers as the company's buses hade been involved in road accidents not less than eight times this year, causing 22 deaths and over 76 injuries.
"In order to satisfy ourselves with the competence of the drivers and the quality of the company buses, Sumatra is suspending operations of all the buses owned by Sabena company,” said Mziray in a statement.
He said buses whose operations had been suspended included those which plied routes between Dar es Salaam and Tabora, Tabora - Mbeya and Mwanza-Mbeya.
Mziray said that Sumatra would not issue temporary permits for the routes until the investigation was completed.
He said the inspection would include vehicle inspector by traffic police, adding that the buses would be allowed to resume operations after Sumatra received inspection reports on the respective buses and drivers' competence.
Meanwhile, Sumatra has suspended operations of two buses with registration number T994 ASN and T258 ANG for two months each for failure to report about accidents in which they were involved.
Mziray said the owner of Sabena Company had been directed to communicate with the vehicle inspector from the traffic police so they could plan how the buses would be inspected.
Seventeen people were killed and 78 others were seriously injured on Tuesday afternoon when the bus they were travelling in overturned in Tabora region.
The bus, with registration number T570 AAM christened Sabena, was traveling from Tabora to Mbeya.
Tabora Regional Police Commander Anthony Rutta told The Guardian in a telephone interview that the bus, which was carrying more than 100 passengers, overturned at Kitunda village, Sikonge District, in Tabora Region, some 200 kilometres from Tabora Municipality.