The HOD of the Department, Mr Thulani Sibuyi,
Provincial Commissioner, LT General Thulani Ntobela,
Senior Managers of the department and other managers from other departments,
Our partners from the transport industry,
Members of the media.
It has become a culture that during this time of the year we gather in order to tell the nation about the plans of the department pertaining to road safety and law enforcement on our roads in a bid to reduce accidents and fatalities.
This also serves as a platform to mobilise road users to work with the department to enhance road safety due to the fact that it would be difficult for the department and government in general to reduce accidents and fatalities without the involvement of road users.
To put matters into perspective, it should be noted that during the 2012 Easter Holidays accidents were reduced in Mpumalanga mainly due to enhanced visibility by law enforcement, zero tolerance to drivers driving unroadworthy vehicles, negligent or reckless driving and aggressive road safety education, among others.
As we have begun this year’s Easter Holidays, special focus will be given to unroadworthy and excessively overloaded vehicles which include mini-busses and light delivery vehicles (LDVs) that will be towing trailers.
The trailers, whether homemade or self-modified or are being drawn by vehicles that are not designed to draw trailers, will be taken off the road and their owners would be penalised. Once taken off the road, the owner will be liable for all the costs such as storage and towing charges if there is a need to move the vehicles from a certain point to another.
Vehicles including buses, LDVs and mini-buses that will not be showing the Gross Combination Mass (GCM) on their information plates while towing trailers will also be discontinued immediately in terms of Regulation 245 of the National Road Traffic Act of 1996.
Trailers that do not meet the South African National Standards (SANS) will be stopped as soon as they enter this province. This is done not to target certain people but it is known that unroadworthy and overloaded trailers cause instability to the lead vehicle, hence greater chances of accidents associated with this category of vehicles.
We have already instructed our law enforcement officials to ensure that goods and passenger carrying vehicles are also road worthy and those that are not be immediately impounded. Special arrangements will be made to ensure that all weigh bridges remain open in order to deal with overloaded vehicles.
Due to a high number of pedestrians who become injured on our roads, a spotlight will also fall on pedestrian safety during these holidays. Most of the accidents that involved pedestrians were recorded on R538, R573, R40 and N17 roads.
While we intend to deal ruthlessly with unroadworthy vehicles, our officers will also spur no mercy for those who drive while under the influence of alcohol and intoxicating substances, excessive speeding, reckless or negligent driving and dangerous overtaking.
Safety belts infringements also form part of the officers’ priority list because it is known that most people die in accidents because they ignore to buckle-up.
We will also continue to roll out awareness programmes to enhance road safety education in order to facilitate attitudinal change in drivers. This will be in the form of road shows and alert stops.
Traffic officers’ visibility will also be extended to the townships to clamp down on young and unlicensed drivers as we have seen an accident in Bushbuckridge that claimed seven lives. The vehicle was driven by an unlicensed youngster. All our traffic officers will be on duty and none of them will be allowed to be on leave during this period.
As a department, we will also mobilise the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development to speedily prosecute suspects violating traffic regulations in order to deter would be road offenders. This, we believe, will send a strong message that government can no longer tolerate irresponsible driving.
We are therefore calling on road users and motorist in Mpumalanga and those who will be visiting the province to drive safely, and observe traffic rules and regulations in order to avoid unnecessary accidents and loss of lives.
It is the responsibility of all citizens to ensure that accidents are reduced by adhering to the rules of the road and reporting those who are not complying with regulations to traffic authorities.
Sekwanele Bopha, Together let’s fight crime and road carnage.