Field’s Hill route: public urged to wait for probe into full implications of ban on trucks

2013-09-18 00:00

THOSE wanting a ban on trucks using Field’s Hill will have to wait until the full implications of such a decision has been investigated.

Transport MEC Willies Mchunu yesterday said he was aware of the public outcry over the accident that claimed 23 lives, but a report into the incident would have to be presented to the KZN Legislature and then a decision would be made.

Mchunu also said that if the owners of the truck that caused the Pinetown accident were found to have breached any laws, they should face the full might of the law.

The truck owner has claimed that the 18-wheeler truck had been serviced and its brakes were in good condition before the accident.

However, Mchunu said servicing a vehicle may mean many things, but the thorough investigation would look at all aspects pertaining to the accident and the truck.

The MEC, however, expressed concern about the show of support for the driver, as he felt it could send out a message that the loss of 23 lives in the accident is being condoned.

In his statement, Mchunu welcomed the murder charges levelled against the driver, saying that it would address the calls for harsher and punitive measures against road traffic rules offenders.

He also said the province has experienced a disturbing increase in road accidents, although over the last three years there had been a decrease in road fatalities of at least 33,6%.

Statistics he presented to the legislature showed that there were 578 crashes on the roads that claimed 639 lives between May and August in 2012, while there were 600 crashes that claimed 698 lives over the same four months this year.

On the issue of the M13, he said he is aware of concerns that have been raised by various stakeholders with the Department of Transport on the use of Field’s Hill (M13) by trucks, including a call for the banning of trucks on this road.

He has asked relevant authorities for input and will table a report on the findings to both cabinet and the legislature for debate.

During the legislature debate, the DA’s spokesperson on transport, Radley Keys, said Mchunu should learn from Education MEC Senzo Mchunu who acted when pupils died during school outings, and his Western Cape counterpart, who banned heavy trucks on certain roads.

“We call on the MEC to immediately prohibit the use of M13, the Field’s Hill road, by heavies for six months while giving him a chance to negotiate and investigate,” he said.

The IFP’s Lindani Mncwango said it was saddening that gains made on road deaths were being reversed at an alarming rate.

Cope’s Lucky Gabela said the department should learn from Moscow, which limits heavy trucks on the roads during certain periods.

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