48 000 buses checked in a week
Cape Town - More than one in every five of the more than 48 000 buses used for the transport of schoolchildren was given notices or fines, while 210 were stopped from operating completely following a crackdown after last month's horrific crash that killed 14 pupils in Knysna.
Accidents involving South Africa's notoriously unsafe buses and minibus taxis claimed the lives of 62 other people in eight separate crashes throughout the country last month, prompting Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele to order law enforcement officials to begin stopping and checking them.
The department of transport said on Wednesday that from August 31 to September 5, some 48 420 vehicles transporting schoolchildren were stopped and checked. Of these, 210 were discontinued from use and 10 824 fines were issued.
In Gauteng last Friday, officers from the National Traffic Unit, Cross Border Road Transport Agency, Gauteng traffic police and South African police stopped and checked more than 2 100 vehicles, including more than 330 public transport vehicles.
A similar blitz was carried out in the Western Cape on the same day, where traffic officers were deployed in Hout Bay to pull over school buses and taxis.
The transport department said that as part of the new National Rolling Enforcement Plan (NREP), from October 1 2010 to 31 July 2011, 11 745 526 vehicles and drivers had been checked, 4 847 526 fines issued for various traffic offences, 17 758 drunken drivers arrested and 46 843 unroadworthy vehicles (the majority of which were buses and taxis) discontinued from use.
Ndebele said: "All public transport operators must ensure that their passengers are transported safely and reliably. Basic minimum quality standards must be in place to transport passengers in a safe, efficient and reliable manner. As part of this global decade of action for road safety 2011-2020, we call upon public transport operators to take responsibility for the safety of their commuters."