MEC Max Meet Long Distance Bus and Taxi Owners on Safety of Transport
The Minister of Community Safety, Adv. Lennit Max, today met with representatives from various long distance buses and taxi companies in Cape Town and said that it is important and necessary to acknowledge the critical role that the respective sectors play in the economic wellbeing of our province and its people.
Our citizens are especially directly dependent on the provision of good and safe public transport.
Historically the most vulnerable amongst us have to undertake long distance transport by road in order to return to family or get to other destinations. The public transport industry, more specifically bus and minibus taxi operators, plays a very important role in this regard.
The Department of Community Safety, the Department of Transport, other agencies but more importantly, the citizens of the Western Cape, are however extremely concerned with the extent of road trauma including fatalities associated with this sector.
Accordingly, the integrated operational plans of the province have prioritised the enforcement of the regulatory environment of the public transport and heavy vehicle industry sector together with alcohol related offences. Like in previous holiday periods, the department and its partners will intensify law enforcement operations in the coming weeks.
It is generally accepted that inappropriate speed, fatigue, negligent and inconsiderate driving, driver and vehicle fitness and general lawlessness are the primary reasons for crashes and this applies to all road users.
The challenge is however that when a public transport or freight vehicle is involved in a crash, it invariably results in multiple deaths and or trauma. Statistics show that for the public transport and freight industry, the number of deaths in relation to the vehicle population is disproportionately high. The same applies to LDV's.
As government we would like to see greater voluntary compliance with all the rules and regulations applicable to the sector. We accept that the majority of operators are generally compliant. During these tough economic times however we are all required to make do with less.
I want to implore the companies however not to cut corners as far as safety is concerned because in doing so, they are considerably increasing the risk to their passengers, goods and to other road users. They may be tempted to improve the turnaround time of their busses or taxis and subjecting their drivers to inhumane hours of work.
Companies may be tempted to fit imported reject tyre and other spare parts only to experience death and destruction down the road. As government we believe that short term monetary gain should not override safety considerations and is in essence bad for any business in the long run.
Safer Festive Season
The aim is to target behaviour that presents the biggest risk to all the road users over the next couple of weeks. These include the behaviour and conduct of pedestrians at hazardous locations throughout the province.
While there is a strong law enforcement focus we will also be disseminating road safety messages and information to those entering and leaving the province. Communities will be engaged in order to develop responsibility for personal safety.
There will be greater cooperation and support between the various agencies. This will be especially important when and if it becomes necessary to impound vehicles.
We implore bus and taxi companies not to dispatch vehicles that are not roadworthy from their depots. It is bound to be a costly exercise should these pass through one of our 24 hour traffic check points.
We would love to rely on the voluntary compliance of the companies with the applicable rules and regulations and acceptance of this government's commitment to ensure the safety of all its citizens and visitors to the province.
Media Liaison Officer
Ministry of Community Safety
11th Floor, Waldorf Building, St.Georges Mall, Cape Town
Tel: 021 483 3873
Fax: 021 483 3874
Cell: 082 726 9334