MEC wants Roadlink prosecuted

2010-04-29 21:00

Johannesburg - A Western Cape government delegation will ask the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to prosecute national bus operator SA Roadlink for allegedly breaking traffic laws.

"Should the NPA proceed against SA Roadlink and they are found guilty, we will ask the relevant operating licensing authority to cancel all of SA Roadlink's operating licenses in terms of the National Land Transport Act," said the province's Transport MEC Robin Carlisle in a statement on Thursday.

Carlisle and Community Safety MEC Lennit Max were expected to meet with the NPA within the next few days.

In a statement, Carlisle's spokesperson Solly Malatsi said the operator had contravened the National Road Traffic Act several times.

"In terms of the Act, it is the duty of the operator to implement reasonable measures to ensure that their drivers do not commit any road traffic offence."

"In a joint letter to SA Roadlink, the MECs are also requiring the bus company to provide a detailed explanation of its past conduct and the measures it has in place to ensure road safety," said Malatsi.

'Coffin on wheels'

The operator had come under constant scrutiny since December 2006 when twelve people were killed in a KwaZulu-Natal crash involving one of their buses. Driver Charles Vaudim was later acquitted of all culpable homicide charges by a Pietermaritzburg magistrate.

In January 2009, then KwaZulu-Natal Transport MEC Bheki Cele labelled the operator a "killing machine" and "a coffin on wheels", before suspending Roadlink's operations in the province.

The company took the matter to court, arguing that it was being unfairly singled out. Judge Isaac Madondo said there was a possibility that SA Roadlink would suffer irreparable harm and that Cele had not provided any evidence that there would be more accidents.

Cele immediately withdrew the ban.

In July 2009, eight people died in a crash involving another Roadlink bus in Beaufort West in the Western Cape.

This year, several Roadlink buses were impounded in January after being found with defective brakes in George and Knysna.


On April 27, yet another Roadlink bus was stopped and found allegedly exceeding its weight limit by 700kg.

Malatsi said criminal charges had been laid against that driver because he offloaded ten passengers when instructed by a traffic officer but later allegedly reloaded them.

He said criminal charges had been laid against the driver and that Carlisle and Max would engage the NPA to take the matter to finality.

"While the proposed action may be effective in dealing with SA Roadlink in this particular instance, what has become apparent is that there are limited legal mechanisms to bring errant operators to book," said Carlisle.

"We have instructed our legal team to look at legislative solutions to address that gap. Enough is enough."