More police visibility on the roads

Tuesday, March 29, 2011
By: 
Nthambeleni Gabara

Pretoria - Drunk drivers and motorists who don't obey traffic rules have been warned: there will be more traffic police visibility in all the country's national road network starting from this coming Easter long weekend. 

On Tuesday, Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele unleashed into the traffic policing system the 231-member National Traffic Intervention Unit (NIU). 

Last year, Ndebele committed himself to the establishment of the NIU to bolster operations and interventions of existing traffic law enforcement agencies in dealing with high accident frequency locations. 

The NIU members received nine months of intensive training at the Tshwane Metro Police Academy and Boekenhoutskloof Traffic Training College. 

They also received training in advanced driving, inter-personal communications, anti-corruption, dealing with diplomatic personnel, first aid and incident management. 

Speaking at the passing out parade of the NIU, Ndebele said: "The situation at present is that our national road network is poorly policed because enforcement authorities are focusing on their own networks, only occasionally venturing onto national roads. This unit will intensify the policing of our national network." 

According to the minister, the unit will from time to time, engage in joint operations with provincial traffic authorities, municipal and metro police, South African Police Services, the Cross Border Road Transport Agency, Military Police and other relevant agencies.

"We must expect to see this unit very soon at roadside checkpoints, multi-disciplinary roadblocks, high-impact visibility patrols, unmarked patrols and alcohol test centres. Road safety in South Africa is essentially about eradicating death, crashes and bribery," he said. 

Ndebele further said the unit will be tasked with dealing with bribery and fraudulent driver licences. 

"A significant part of the unit's work will therefore be to intervene in corruption-ridden traffic centres around the country. This unit is now available for deployment in areas which we identified for special attention. These include national roads where enforcement is particularly weak, provincial hot spots and municipalities and villages with high road accidents," he said. 

Ndebele said he is expecting the highest standards of the officers, as they must be beyond reproach, highly disciplined and have the highest standards of professionalism. 

The minister said every month, no less than 1 000 healthy, young, economically active individuals are die because of road accidents across the country. 

He said that during the Easter long weekend, random operations will continue on various routes and at various times, adding that alcohol enforcement operations have already gathered momentum following the establishment of Dragar Centres in the major cities. 

During the Easter holidays, special blitzes will be conducted nationwide by various traffic authorities. 

"We are certain that as part of the National Rolling Enforcement Plan (NREP), the NIU will help increase compliance in all areas. NREP will become a permanent feature of life in South Africa. Everywhere you turn, there will be a traffic police officer waiting for you," he said.