The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) is running a campaign to sensitize the general public to ensure that buses and other motorists they use as couriers to send parcels and parcels to various destinations have a certificate of registration of MACRA.
The campaign was rolled out at Wenela Bus Depot in Blantyre on Tuesday, which was spiced up with a live band performance by popular artist Fugie Kasipa of ‘Dale Wangayo’ fame – which drew a huge and curious crowd.
It was also an opportunity for MACRA to warn bus operators – and other motorists who transport people illegally long distances – that if they are found delivering parcels and parcels without a permit , they are liable to a fine of K1 million and imprisonment for up to two years. years.
MACRA also involved the Malawi Police Service who attested that it is illegal to carry out courier services while advising the gathering that if they detect someone doing it they must report it to the police or MACRA.
The rally was assessed by the various licensed courier operators while encouraging all interested bus operators and other motorists to first register with MACRA at their head office at Ginnery Corner in Blantyre.
MACRA communications officer Zadziko Mankhambo said the regulator had discovered that illegal courier services by bus operators and other long-distance taxi operators were rampant – hence their decision to warn the public that the courier service is very sensitive.
The public is encouraged to use operators who prove they are licensed by MACRA, because if they use illegal means – and their parcels and parcels are lost or stolen – they have no way of being compensated.
“But if the parcels are sent by registered couriers, MACRA can help get them compensated,” he said. “We are doing this to protect people who might not be aware that messaging services are a sensitive issue.
“MACRA is mandated by the Communications Act that, in addition to regulating broadcasters and mobile phone service providers, we must regulate postal services.”
He added that there have been many cases where parcels and parcels have been lost – even by registered couriers where MACRA has intervened – but those who disappeared with valuable parcels were never found, and therefore could not help to obtain compensation for the victims.
He pointed out that penalties for illegal courier services are not an option but a $1 million fine plus a two-year jail term.
The activity was spiced up by one of Fugie Kasipa’s group members, who prompted the gathering to question and answer sessions on presentations made by MACRA officials and the police who, when they responded correctly, received gifts of MACRA brand T-shirts, caps and frames. pens.
This was to create an interactive atmosphere that also included encouraging the congregation to get vaccinated against CoVID-19 via a mobile clinic that had parked right at the site.