Msunduzi plan for safer roads

2011-10-05 00:00

MSUNDUZI Municipality has undertaken to engage with taxi associations to come up with constructive way of dealing with errant taxi drivers in the city.

The municipality’s decision follows an accident that claimed 15 lives in Copesville on Friday.

Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson Brian Zuma said, “The leadership of the Msunduzi Municipality is extremely saddened by the death of 15 people who were involved in a taxi accident last week Friday.”

He said the mayor, Chris Ndlela, has visited the bereaved families to pay his respects.

“The mere fact that police have charged the driver with murder, reckless and negligent driving goes to show that enforcement alone is not the answer to saving lives. Driver behaviour would also go a long way in ensuring that lives are saved on our roads,” said Zuma.

He said the municipality will engage with taxi associations in an effort to come up with a lasting solution to make roads safer and avoid a repetition of Friday’s accident.

Meanwhile, a traffic officer has disclosed that the ratio of traffic officers per kilometres covered is 1:50 at best.

Traffic officers at Msunduzi Municipality accuse the council of ignoring their concerns about the vital service of guarding the city’s roads.

“We must take road safety as everybody’s responsibility so that it becomes part of the society’s conscience,” said a traffic officer who declined to be named.

He said the municipality needs to reinforce its personnel because there is a huge shortage of staff in the traffic department.

“The council needs to equip traffic officers with decent vehicles that are equipped with computers in order for them to be able to do their duties properly.”

The officer said the computers will make it easier for traffic officers to access owner information when trying to identify a vehicle, instead of having to check with an official back at the office.

He pointed out that if the municipality has to deploy its traffic officers to cover the entire city and surrounding areas, the ratio would be between 50 km and 75 km per officer

The ideal situation should be one officer per kilometre so that there is high police visibility, and that would make people respect the rules of the road, he added.

Officers complained about being served with a court order instructing them to go back to work before their concerns had been addressed.

They said the municipality last employed officers in 2003 when there was already a staff shortage.

They also complained about being stationed only in the Northdale area and not being able to cover other suburbs.

An officer said his colleagues get to go to Edendale only when they knock off from work.

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