Safely Home: No Mercy for Dishonest Drivers
Today, I was present at a joint road safety operation, between the City of Cape Town and Provincial Traffic Law Enforcement Officers. This operation, which took place in Keizergracht Road, Zonnebloem, saw officers stop more than thirty (30) minibus taxis transporting learners to various schools in the City Bowl.
To my horror, we discovered a vehicle crammed with thirty-five (35) little children, driven by a man, who did not have the necessary permit. The driver was arrested on the spot, and both myself and MEC for Transport and Public Works, Robin Carlisle, made our vehicles available to get the children to school safely and on time.
Another driver was arrested for drunken driving, and those children were also taken to nearby schools by traffic officers. Even though this exercise happened before school and caused some delays, every effort was made to ensure that learners were not late for school.
Parents are clearly prepared to pay the extra money for their children to attend better schools, often far from where they stay. I want to appeal to them to ensure that they pay not only for a reliable service, but for a service that puts the safety of their children first. What I saw today, was a clear indication that there was no consideration for safety and it was purely about the money.
The children, who were ready to "sing like canaries" when questioned by the traffic officers about their travel conditions, demonstrated how they were instructed to duck and lie down when spotting traffic officers along the way.
Since Monday this week, and excluding today's operation, sixty-two (62) buses and taxis transporting learners have been stopped across the province, and drivers have been fined for various offences. Today's operation, saw fines worth just over fifty thousand rand (R50 000) being issued.
In keeping with our Safely Home campaign, traffic law enforcement officers will continue these operations all over the province and show no mercy for non-compliance. The rules are clear and there can be no room for judgement errors that cost children their lives.
If we managed to save one (1) life by taking rogue and irresponsible drivers off the road this morning, it will have been worth it.