Top Motors, the Chinese company contracted to supply hearses to the Ministry of Local Government and Housing, today officially handed 100 hearses to the Ministry of Local Government and Housing.
Speaking during the handover ceremony, Local Government and Housing Minister Ben Tetamashimba said of the 100 hearses 64 would be distributed to 47 district councils.
Mr. Tetamashimba said government decided to distribute the hearses despite the circumstances surrounding the purchase of the vehicles as it is alive to challenges faced by the poor in the country to bury their departed.
He, however, said although government accepted the hearses, the move does not in any way mean that government is convinced that the hearses were bought at US$29, 000 each.
Mr. Tetamashimba maintained that the cost of the hearses was below the US$ 29, 000 per vehicle contrary to assertions by others.
He urged the local authorities to prudently use the hearses to enable residents bury their departed in a dignified and humane manner.
The minister said the councils shall be the custodian of the vehicles for the purpose of control and maintenance.
He said the vehicles would only be released to councils that would pay comprehensive insurance cover for the vehicles.
And Top Motors manager Lee Yang said his company had fulfilled its contractual obligation.
Mr. Yang said the hearses are suitable for rural areas and would withstand any terrain.