Faulty vehicles seized

2013-04-01 00:00

THIRTY-SIX buses and taxis were impounded by the KwaZulu-Natal Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) as part of an ongoing campaign to reduce deaths on the province’s roads during the Easter holidays.

Sbu Gumbi, head of the KZN Department of Transport, was at the RTI station at Mkondeni yesterday to see the effect of the campaign in person.

From March 25 to 31, a total of 110 buses and taxis were stopped and subjected to testing at the Pietermaritzburg station.

“Sixteen buses and 20 taxis were suspended after these were tested, for not being roadworthy,” Gumbi said, adding that faults had varied from brake failure to leaking oil and other engine faults, and unstable steering.

Among those affected by the roadworthy tests was a church group, which was returning home to Harding from an event in Howick when their bus was pulled off the road.

“We have been able to arrange with the owner to get them home. He has provided four taxis,” Gumbi told The Witness.

“It is very important for us that the passengers have been appreciative of the proactiveness of the department. Even if they have been inconvenienced for a few hours, most have been happy to know that their bus has been stopped before something bad happens.

“We go to the passengers and explain to them why we have stopped the bus or taxi, and tell them that they might be inconvenienced. But, we try to arrange alternate transport,” Gumbi said.

“There might have been people inconvenienced, but we made it our priority to find them transport. We are aware that there are elements of inconvenience.”

He added that the passengers who were stranded at Mkondeni had since received transport to continue with their journeys.

Commenting on the Easter road traffic, Gumbi said that despite the high volume of vehicles on the N3 and N2 over the Easter weekend, most drivers had obeyed the rules of the road.

“It’s too early for us to say whether or not there has been a reduction in the number of fatalities on the roads, but so far people generally seem to be behaving,” he said.

“We are still concerned, however, by the numbers of pedestrians who have been knocked down. As long as we continue to lose lives on our roads, we will be concerned. One life lost is one life too many.”

Gumbi said he hoped road users would continue to be responsible as holidaymakers began the long journey back to their homes in Gauteng, the Free State, Limpopo and elsewhere.

Transport Minister Ben Martins added his appeal to that of the KZN RTI, reminding motorists to “exercise caution and vigilance, to remain calm and to observe all the rules of the road as they move from one point to another”.

He added: “We can reduce road fatalities by keeping to the set legal speed limit, driving when we are fit to do so, by ensuring that our vehicles are roadworthy, by wearing seatbelts at all times, and not drinking and driving and not drinking and walking.”

Martins and the deputy minister of transport, Sindisiwe Chikunga, have been crisscrossing the country as part of a campaign to ensure a reduction in road fatalities.

During Easter 2012, the number of people killed on South Africa’s roads dropped to 171 from almost 300 in Easter 2011.

Commenting on the hopes of a further reduction in fatalities this year, Martins said: “It is possible. We can do it if we all join hands and each one of us takes personal interest and responsibility for what happens on our roads.”

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