Locals welcome law enforcement on R503

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mafikeng - Efforts to beef up law enforcement along the R503 between Mafikeng and Lichtenburg have been welcomed by local residents.

Operation "Moretlwa-die poppe sal dans," a month-long zero-tolerance traffic law enforcement effort, aimed at reducing the number of fatalities on the road, will be launched on Friday by the provincial Department of Public Safety.

The R503 is notoriously dangerous and is referred to as "Killer Road" by locals.

According to departmental spokesperson, Lesiba Kgwele, the operation is in response to a public outcry for intensified law enforcement targeted at the reckless and inconsiderate drivers on the road.

Segametsi Magano of Itsoseng, who uses the road to get to and from work everyday, said while she welcomed the operation, government must also reduce the speed limit and install speeding cameras to catch fast drivers.

Ms Magano told BuaNews that traffic officers should be assigned to work on that road on a daily basis.

Benjamin Molaoa, who also uses the road everyday, said he had been involved in a head-on collision with another car on his birthday on 20 May.

He told BuaNews that while he blamed the narrow road with many potholes for the accident, the operation would go a long way in ensuring motorists reduce their speed and do not overtake recklessly.

According to an analysis of accident reports, released by the MEC for Public Safety Howard Yawa, driver behaviour had contributed to about 99 percent of the fatalities and accidents on the road in the past three to four years.

Between April and June this year, 35 accidents occurred on the road resulting in 12 fatalities, 29 serious and 23 slight injuries to road users. The department observed that 32 percent of the accidents occurred on a Friday.

"The total disregard of following distances and speed still account for unacceptable and unnecessary loss of life on our roads." said Mr Yawa.

Mr Kgwele said Operation "Moretlwa-die poppe sal dans" would be conducted through visible patrols, road blocks, speed-trapping and road-side inspections that would be intensified after 6pm.

Explaining the zero-tolerance approach, he said officers will not be issuing admission of guilt fines, but rather a docket will be opened and they will be charged and appear in court on the spot.

The operation will focus on driver fitness, vehicle fitness, barrier line infringement and speeding.

The operation will see the Department of Public Safety, provincial traffic and the Ditsobotla and Mafikeng Local Municipalities combining efforts. It will also be supported by the South African Police Service.