EC traffic officials gear for festive season

Friday, December 2, 2011

East London - Traffic officials will not be tolerant this festive season when they intensify "Operation Asihleki" (meaning 'we are serious').

This provincial campaign will contribute to the implementation of the National Rolling Enforcement Plan.

"Through this plan, Eastern Cape law enforcement agencies are expected to stop and screen 85 000 vehicles a month and each officer is expected to stop and check a minimum of 15 vehicles per eight-hour shift," said Transport MEC Thandiswa Marawu.

Marawu was speaking at the 2011 Arrive Alive launch at the Mthatha Civic Centre today.

The MEC went through the traffic law enforcement plans for this season and was convinced that they were ready to undertake the task.

Marawu said even though there had been horrible accidents in the province, her department was convinced that God would help them to emerge with a lasting solution.

Recently, the Eastern Cape has been marred by a number of serious road accidents and Marawu was concerned about the possibility of an increase in these accidents during the 2011/12 festive season.

She appealed to churches to pray with the department to curb road accidents.

"The time has come for us to turn to God and implore Him for His divine intervention," said Marawu.

She said turning to the churches was influenced by their experience during the liberation struggle, as the movement could not have been successful without the religious leaders' contribution of constantly asking for God's intervention.

"By hosting this service today to mark the launch of our festive season programme, we are calling upon the Almighty and the spirits of those who have passed on to help us to stop accidents on our roads," added Marawu.

She referred to motor vehicles as 'the deadliest weapons of mass destruction'.

All 619 provincial traffic officers, together with their municipal counterparts and other law enforcement agencies, will be out on the roads from today until the end of January.

Marawu said they were targeting the busy festive period and the closure and re-opening of schools, with a particular focus on scholar transport in an effort to:

* conduct high visibility patrols;
* provide efficient emergency and law services
* improve enforcement response service, and
* assist Traffic Safety to conduct public information and awareness programmes.

Marawu said specific attention would be given to the N2, N6 and R61, which have been notorious for road accidents.

"Through Operation Asihleki, we expect our law enforcement agencies to send a strong warning to road users that we have adopted a zero tolerance approach on our roads. Let us not smile, but be fair and understand that we are providing a service," added Marawu.

To date, 12 015 public transport vehicles have been impounded which includes 1910 busses and 2239 taxis.

Marawu said this was unacceptable and she urged commuters to report any problems they encounter on the roads and call the customer care centre number on 0800 644 644.

"This festive season, I would like to appeal to long distance vehicles owners to ensure that they have at least two drivers per vehicle in order to deal with the challenge of fatigue," concluded Marawu.

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