The IFP in the KZN Legislature says transport authorities must stop their laissez-faire attitude and enforce traffic laws on a daily basis – not only in October, which is Transport Month.
This comes after the KZN MEC for Transport, Sipho Hlomuka, was quoted in the media saying that as part of October Transport Month, his Department’s focus would be on the random assessments of trucks, vehicle assessments, the documentation of drivers, and the fitness of drivers and their conduct on the road.
Questions remain: Why has the MEC waited for Transport Month to enforce traffic laws? Why has he not deployed traffic officers 24/7 on our roads, as called for by the IFP on numerous occasions?
The IFP believes that the implementation and enforcement of strong, evidence-based road safety laws and regulations has been shown to be highly effective in reducing road traffic deaths and injuries. The KZN Department of Transport should be taking strong leadership in this area. The way they have gone about enforcing road safety is simply unacceptable in the face of countless road deaths. Too often, the KZN Department of Transport seems to be caught on the back foot when it comes to responding to this crisis. This kind of knee-jerk reaction must stop once and for all.
Many roads have become little more than slaughterhouses due to reckless driving and the absence of traffic police. We cannot afford to wait for Transport Month. Traffic rules must be enforced on a daily basis.
It is sheer hypocrisy to only highlight the importance of road safety during Transport Month. What can expect once October is over? Will we only hear from the MEC about the enforcement of road safety when another tragic accident strikes, or during the festive season, when we experience huge volumes of traffic on our roads?
The IFP believes that consistent enforcement of traffic laws in order to improve road safety in KZN is long overdue. Safety awareness campaigns without tangible solutions to end the carnage on our roads are a futile exercise.
The MEC should be hands-on: conducting daily road blocks, deploying traffic officers 24/7 on our roads, and advocating to make the enforcement of traffic laws a 365-day-a-year project, and not just a campaign during Transport Month.
Road safety is non-negotiable.
Conscious ignorance can be catastrophic. Swift and decisive action is critical. We cannot allow lawlessness on our roads. We urge drivers to exercise patience on the roads and to avoid speeding and drunk driving. Further, reckless driving by taxi drivers is something that needs to be recognised, acknowledged and dealt with accordingly. We must all want our roads to be safe before it can happen. Reckless drivers must be charged with manslaughter if they are found guilty of killing people.
In addition, other than heightening road safety sensitisation and eliminating corruption in the issuing of driving licences, we also urge the KZN Department of Transport to keep an eye on mushrooming driving schools in the province. We recommend this because we know that some driving schools are established overnight and start conducting driving lessons. Instead of their core mandate being to produce quality drivers, some of these driving schools are merely interested in making money. As such, there is no concern about the quality of drivers they produce. It is then these improperly trained drivers who contribute further to the mayhem on our province’s roads.
Hon. Steven Moodley, MPL
IFP KZN Provincial Spokesperson for Transport
083 253 2277