State of trucks on Field's Hill shocking: MEC

Thursday, October 3, 2013

By Bhekisisa Mncube

Durban – KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Willies Mchunu, has expressed shock at the state of trucks travelling on (M13) Field’s Hill – the scene of the road carnage that has claimed 26 lives in less than two months.

Mchunu was speaking at the massive multi-disciplinary roadblock held on Thursday on the M13 as part of the launch of Transport Month.

He inspected over 200 trucks during the operation. “I am shocked at the carelessness of truck owners,” Mchunu told scores of journalists at the roadblock.

He said one driver told him that he was never given money for tollgate fees, hence he uses the M13. The MEC said it was an eye-opener for him to be on the ground and observe the reality that confronts police officers daily.

“I am amazed at the lackadaisical approach of both drivers and owners – how do you start the engine of a truck with visibly smooth tyres?” he asked.

SAnews spoke to some truck drivers at the roadblock. Shaun Gordon, 48, of DJ Transport Services, said it was ridiculous that some people were calling for a ban on heavies.

“Accidents will continue to happen as long as minibus taxis are allowed to pull over anywhere they deem fit,” said Gordon. He was fined R450 for failure to produce a professional driving permit (PDP) and operator’s card.

Lungisi Dlamini, 39, of Tip Top Transport Services, said it is up to the government to decide on the ban. “If a ban is imposed, we will simply respect it. It’s not like we have a choice.”

He was fined R600 for his vehicle having two smooth tyres. He was also found to have warrants of arrest to the value of R5 000. Dlamini’s case for outstanding warrants was referred to the Traffic Fine Tracing Team for further investigation.

Bongani Duka, 41, was speechless after the truck he was driving was suspended for numerous defects. It was found that it had engine oil leaks, smooth tyres, exhaust flames, steering rack defects and a missing wheel nut. He was fined R600 for smooth tyres, and the truck was escorted by the Road Transport Inspectorate (RTI) officers to its final destination. The MEC also ordered that the special unit perform checks on all other trucks of the same owner. 

Speaking to SAnews, Mchunu said the report of the task team he had commissioned in the wake of the Field’s Hill tragedy on desirability of heavies using M13 was now complete.

“I will submit the report to the Premier as soon as he arrives back from Russia. He said the report should serve before cabinet soon, probably next week.” – SAnews.gov.za

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