Transporting children for money prohibited from next year

2016-11-24 06:01

IF you transport children in a bakkie in return for payment, this applies to you.

As from May 2017, this will be illegal as government last week published two amendments to the National Road Traffic Regulations in the Government Gazette.

These changes pertain to laws regulating transport of school children in the load bay of a bakkie as well as speed regulations for heavy goods vehicles­.

As per the transport department, Regulation 250 now specifically states that school children may not be transported for reward in the goods compartment of a vehicle.

Other persons may also not be transported in the goods compartment for reward unless it is done in terms of the National Land Transport Act.

This means that the driver of the bakkie will have to apply for special permission and a permit to transport other persons in a bakkie.

This will be granted if the motorist proves that the road travelled on can only be accessed by bakkie.

The other amendment, which is effective as from 11 November 2017, is that goods vehicles with a gross vehicle mass of more than 3 500kg up to 9 000kg are now limited to a maximum speed of 100km/h

The maximum general speed limit of 120km/h is applicable to all other vehicles.

One of these drivers, who does not want to be named, says he is not happy with the amendment and is not sure how he is going to support himself financially.

“This new law means that I won’t have a job.

“I have been transporting children to school for many years and I have had no accidents,” he said.

“What about the parents who rely on me and others to take their children to school because they can’t?” he asked.

A Gamalakhe woman, who relies on this transport to get her granddaughter to and from school, says she is not happy with this new law.

“I think government should clamp down on bad drivers and not specifically bakkie owners who transport children to school.

“It depends on the driver and the road worthiness of the bakkie,” said Jabu Silangwe.

She said her late husband also transported children to school in the back of a bakkie and had no accidents.

Aneesa Mahlawe, who owns a bakkie­, said she understands that the Department of Transport would like drivers to use a safer vehicle to transport children.

“The safety of the children should not be compromised and I will adhere to the rules. I am willing to purchase a minibus too, but I also feel that the department [of transport] should provide us with some funding to make this possible,” she said.

“At the end of the day these children need to go to school and their parents can’t do it.

“The department [of transport] must provide another means for them to attend school,” she added.

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