Public transport won't serve as a Covid-19 superspreader, vows Mbalula

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Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula.
Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula.
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  • Transport authorities would do everything it could to ensure the sector did not contribute to the spread of the coronavirus, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula told the National Assembly.
  • He said attacks on trucks would not be tolerated.
  • Law enforcement authorities will heighten operations on high-fatality roads.

This coming festive season, the country's transport authorities will not only deal with the usual dangers of high volumes of traffic on the country's road, but also with the added perils of the Covid-19 pandemic and a spate of violent attacks on trucks.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula told the National Assembly in a ministerial statement on Tuesday, the government would do everything in its power to ensure "that the transport sector is not counted among the superspreaders of the pandemic".

"We have vowed not to enable mobility of the Covid-19 pandemic through our public transport system. The measures we have put in place, since the lockdown was declared in March 2020, have gone a long way in containing the spread of the pandemic."

He said the current Level 1 restrictions were still in place to ensure the pandemic was stopped in its tracks.

READ | KZN truck owners to 'prioritise' jobs for locals as province moves to quell attacks - KZN premier

"In keeping with our message of not allowing public transport to serve as a superspreader activity, our law enforcement officers at roadblocks will put measures in place to enforce the Covid-19 regulations and directions.

"Regulations and directions relating to 70% loading capacity for long-distance public transport, keeping windows open by at least 5cm for short-distance taxis, wearing of masks by all occupants in public transport vehicles and sanitising, remain in force," Mbalula added.

Unsafe

He said unsafe conduct on the roads placed an increased burden on the social security system.

"Over two-thirds of road crashes are preceded by a violation of traffic laws, confirming that these crashes are in fact avoidable and preventable if only people can inculcate a culture of responsible behaviour and attitude when using the roads."

Mbalula added law enforcement authorities would heighten operations on high-fatality roads with an emphasis on fatigue management, reckless driving, intoxicated drivers, road rage, pedestrian enforcement and tracking moving violations through patrol vehicles to clamp down on distracted driving, dangerous overtaking and excessive speed.

He said the government was "seriously concerned" about the escalation of attacks on trucks.

Not tolerated

"Lawlessness on our roads will not be tolerated. We will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that those who believe they have a right to destroy property and place the lives of others at risk meet the full might of the law.  

"Legitimate platforms are available for any aggrieved person to voice their grievances with relevant stakeholders and find an amicable solution. We will not tolerate a situation where our roads are turned into war zones."

Mbalula added one of the key drivers of unsafe driving was corruption at Drivers' Licence Testing Centres (DLTC) and within the traffic policing fraternity.

"Those involved in corrupt activities are rotten apples that taint the image of the majority of our traffic law enforcement officers who are committed to ensuring our roads are safe and put in an honest day's work.

"We are hard at work to put in place capacity that will enable us to mount undercover and sting operations and throw the book at these criminals who masquerade as officers of the law.

"The jig is up. The time for bribes is over and the long arm of the law will find them wherever they are." 

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