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Mosunkutu: Gauteng road safety & truck companies' licence withdrawals (20/11/2003)

20th February 2003

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Date: 20/11/2003
Source: Gauteng Provincial Government
Title: Mosunkutu: Gauteng road safety & truck companies' licence withdrawals


STATEMENT BY GAUTENG PUBLIC TRANSPORT, ROADS AND WORKS MEC, KHABISI MOSUNKUTU, ON OPERATION JUGGERNAUT AND ON PENDING WITHDRAWAL OF OPERATING LICENCES OF SOME TRUCK COMPANIES

Our roads are fast getting drenched in tears and blood of, very often, innocent road users who are at the mercy of reckless and often heartless motorists. The question we are here to answer is: what is the Gauteng Provincial Government doing about this senseless carnage?

Launching Operation Juggernaut for Gauteng, on 4 November 2003, I said "we intend to send a message of hope to our communities that the unnecessary deaths and maim on our roads will not continue unchallenged. Equally important, we want to send an unequivocal message to those who unleash unroadworthy vehicles onto our roads and to the reckless drivers that our gloves are off".

I am here today to confirm that, indeed, velvet gloves are off and to report to our communities that our tough measures are bearing fruits. Sadly, we are also here to confirm that out there we still encounter vehicle owners whose values inform them that our lives are cheap and can be snuffed-out by their unroadworthy vehicles. Convinced in their own minds that our pronouncements on the need to keep our roads safe are worthless statements that can be ignored, these motorists continue to allow vehicles that are veritable danger onto our roads. Between 7 November 2003, when we launched Operation Juggernaut, and 18 November 2003:

* 22 957 vehicles on Gauteng roads were booked for over-speeding
* 818 were caught driving vehicles with worn-out tyres
* 240 vehicles had faulty brakes, 121 of these were heavy goods vehicles
* 72 vehicles were taken off the road for faulty steering-wheels, of these 39 were heavy motor vehicles
* 398 trucks were found overloaded

During this period we tested 1 719 vehicles. Of these:

* 958 were trucks - 464 of these trucks failed our roadworthiness tests
* Out of the 154 buses that were tested, 52 failed the test
* Of the 434 taxis tested, a whopping 242 were found unfit to be on our road

Other violations included ignoring traffic lights, reckless overtaking, not wearing seatbelts and driving unlicensed vehicles. We are convinced that Operation Juggernaut, only a few weeks in operation, is already bearing positives results and that people's lives and limbs have been saved.

I said earlier velvet gloves are off. Out there are companies that habitually violate the National Road Traffic Act. Owners of these companies appear to hide behind drivers of their vehicles who often are the only people who face the legal consequences of driving unroadworthy vehicles.

To encourage more responsibility from the owners of some of these vehicles, I have summoned six trucking companies to appear before our investigators. The owners of these companies have to furnish us with reasons for their failure to carry out their duties properly in terms of section 49(c)(ii) and (g) of the National Road Traffic Act 93 of 1996. Briefly, I am awaiting Coaltrans, Whelson Transport, OJ Carriers, ITC Transport, ITC and Amalgamated Bulk to inform me why, pending such a recommendations, if such a recommendation does arise from the inter-action with our investigators, I shouldn't withdraw their operating licences to ensure that their vehicles do not continue violating rules and regulations aimed at keeping our roads safer. It is still early days and more such companies will appear before our investigators.

I also stated during the media briefing of 4 November 2003, that we are going to decontaminate our driver testing centres by establishing call centres. By allowing learner drivers to personally book for their tests, and through random allocation of learner examiners, we will be able to thwart fraud and corruption.

We will also be able to deal with fraudulent block-bookings that are abused, by some driving schools, to fleece the public and to obtain driving licences for unqualified drivers. This process is on course and will come into operation as of 24 November 2003.

As we proceed with Operation Juggernaut, thousands of innocent road users invariably become inconvenienced, thanks to the heartless motorists who hide themselves amongst decent road users. The innocent road users tend to run behind their schedules. However, we are determined to flush out the reckless drivers and unroadworthy vehicles.

We wish to call on members of the public not only to bear with the inconvenience but also to actively assist in ridding our road of unroadworthy vehicles and inconsiderate drivers. Members of the public who witness contravention of the rules and regulations of the road are encouraged to phone our toll free number: 0861 400 800. Such patriotic acts will complement our ongoing Operation Juggernaut.

In terms of these operations, more cities and more entry and exit points into Gauteng will be subjected to tough Operation Juggernaut exercises. The recently introduced technology, including E-Force and the weigh in motion equipment, will be in force. Drivers who overload and those who ignore to pay their fines should be warned. Failure to comply, may lead to detention and prosecution.

I thank you.

For more information contact Sizwe Matshikiza on (011) 355 7553 / 082 778 9996
Issued by: Department of Public Transport, Roads and Works, Gauteng Provincial Government
20 November 2003
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