End of the road for shoddy buses, taxis

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pretoria - More than 800 unroadworthy buses and taxis have been taken off South Africa's roads over the past two weeks.

This comes after Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele had instructed law enforcement officers to stop and check every bus and taxi, following the deaths of at least 76 people last month in eight separate road crashes involving public transport vehicles.

In yet another horrific crash this morning, six people were killed after a bus overturned while travelling on the road between Wyllis Poort and Thohoyandou. It is alleged the driver lost control of the bus.

Ndebele has conveyed condolences to the families of those killed. 

"We want to convey condolences to the families and relatives of those killed in yet another horrific bus crash in Limpopo this morning, which claimed the lives of at least six people, including five children.

"We wish the injured a speedy recovery. Our thoughts and prayers are with these families during these difficult moments," Ndebele said.

From 31 August to 18 September, 127 625 public transport vehicles were stopped and checked; 210 scholar transport vehicles, 210 buses, 395 mini-buses and 159 trucks discontinued from use, while 27 908 fines were issued for various public transport offences.

More than 430 public transport drivers were arrested including 67 for drunken driving, 20 for excessive speed, 13 for reckless and/or negligent driving, 50 in connection with public transport permits and 391 for overloading.

From October 2010 to August 2011, 12 984 120 vehicles and drivers were checked, 5 540 275 fines were issued for various traffic offences, 18 527 drunk drivers arrested and 50 272 unroadworthy vehicles (the majority of which are buses and taxis) discontinued from use, as part of the new National Rolling Enforcement Plan (NREP) announced by Ndebele on 10 September 2010.

Ndebele said as part of the NREP, they will continue to deploy traffic officials on strategic and critical routes to increase visibility as well as intensify enforcement on driver and vehicle fitness. 

"We call on members of the public to partner with us and help us police areas that we cannot reach.

"Law enforcement officers cannot be everywhere at any given time, hence our call to the public to take responsibility and work with government in our efforts to eradicate the road carnage in our country," Ndebele said.

The public is encouraged to report those who disobey road rules to the national traffic hotline 0861 400 800.

Meanwhile, Ndebele will lead a South African delegation to the XXIV World Road Congress in Mexico City from 26 - 30 September. 

Key issues to be discussed at the congress include ideas and experiences in the framework of the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020. - BuaNews

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