Support for Roadlink crackdown

2010-04-09 16:18

Pietermaritzburg – Opposition parties in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature on Friday endorsed Transport MEC Willies Mchunu’s call for tougher control measures against troubled bus company SA Roadlink.

The approval comes a day after Mchunu announced during a press briefing at the KwaZulu-Natal legislature that buses under the ownership of SA Roadlink would be subject of intense scrutiny because its buses had been involved in too many serious accidents.

Traffic officers would check the buses’ roadworthiness, driver alertness and other requirements that guaranteed the safety of bus users.

Speaking during a debate in the legislature on Friday, the Inkatha Freedom Party's Blessed Gwala decried the lives lost in accidents where SA Roadlink buses were involved.

“This therefore places immense responsibilities on the government of the day, and the relevant MEC, to do something dramatic to save the lives of the innocent victims of such behaviour," he said.

No government could fold its arms in the face of escalating road accidents, which claimed many lives, he said.

Other factors contributing to accidents

Gwala, however, stressed that the move should not be reduced to a witch-hunt, as there were other factors contributing to the high level of road accidents in the province.

“I have already referred to the drivers and passengers, as well as pedestrians, who just do not care anymore, and who have no regard for anybody else.

"In addition, we have the challenges within the taxi industry, where some owners and drivers behave as though they own not just the roads, but also the people on the roads,” he said.

The Democratic Alliance’s Radley Keys also warned that the move should not be seen as an attack against one bus company.

“In this vein, we request to know how many bus companies service the province, the breakdowns each has suffered over the period under review, the number of deaths that were caused by each bus company and when, and injuries that occurred as a result of the operations of the different bus companies,” he said.

Taxi statistics also needed to be included as they were part of the public transport system.

“If action is taken based on this comprehensive picture there can be no allegation that the province is unfairly targeting SA Roadlink,” Keys said.