MEC plays down Easter traffic fears

2012-03-14 00:00

THE MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Willies Mchunu, has played down concerns about heavy Easter traffic in Pietermaritzburg by promising that road works along the N3 in the city will be manned by Road Traffic Inspectorate officers.

“In all road works there are road signs. Those signs are there to show people how to drive,” the MEC told The Witness.

“If people obtained their driver’s licences in the correct manner they will know how to follow the signs.

“There will also be instances where RTI officers will divert road users to ease the traffic.”

Mchunu yesterday unveiled Operation Valingozi (“stop accidents”), the province’s Easter road safety holiday campaign, and promised the law would be enforced for motorists who did not stick to the laws of the road.

“We have strengthened law enforcement. We are also scrutinising the law to ensure that it is heavy on those who transgress the rules of the road,” the MEC said while briefing journalists at a roadblock in Estcourt yesterday.

Mchunu said prosecutors would charge drivers who caused a loss of life with murder instead of culpable homicide. He referred to Jacob Humphreys, the Cape Town taxi driver who was found guilty last month of the deaths of 10 schoolchildren.

He also mentioned an incident that happened in the city last year, in which 15 people lost their lives when a taxi collided with a truck.

Khululeka Gwala, who is out on bail, faces multiple counts of murder and reckless and negligent driving.

“Operation Valingozi is aimed at the drivers. We want road users to exercise caution …” he said, and expressed his department’s condolences to the families who lost 18 loved ones in two horror crashes in the province this week.

While at the roadblock Mchunu spoke to two women who had been removed from a taxi after they were found with two tog bags full of dagga.

“You are killing the nation,” he chastised one of them, and urged police to find the people who were behind the transporting of the drugs.

In Cape Town Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele yesterday honoured 80-year-old Hazel Souma, who has never been issued a traffic ticket since she received her driver’s licence at the age of 18.

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