Criminal Charges and 24/7 Border Inspections will target all Unsafe Buses and Their Operators
Joint Statement by Western Cape Ministers of Community Safety Lennit Max and Transport Robin Carlisle.
This festive season more than 20 buses were stopped and removed from the Provinces roads for gravely serious road safety violations. Accordingly, we summoned a full briefing from legal experts and senior staff to recommend steps to prevent buses and bus operators from flagrantly ignoring their responsibilities to all road users.
It was our firm intention to consider banning bus operators who consistently disregard the law and place human life at risk. It seems evident from our initial analysis of all the relevant legislation that it is not possible for a Provincial Minister to enforce such a ban. There are however, other powerful remedies we can and will employ.
From today, the following will be implemented: Enforcement officers will continue to suspend the operation of all buses that are found to be unroadworthy and a safety risk. In addition, in each of these cases, criminal charges will be pressed by the Minister of Transport against the operator of the bus. A successful prosecution will mean an operator may be liable to a fine or imprisonment not exceeding six years. Discussions have already been instigated with the Provincial NPA to facilitate this process.
By the end of February 2010 facilities and staff will be in place to effect 24/7 inspection of all buses entering and leaving the Province on the N1 at the Beaufort West weigh-bridge and on the N2 at the Swellendam weigh-bridge. Any buses deliberately avoiding these inspection sites by deviating from their dedicated routes will be prosecuted.
The Minister of Transport will utilise Section 50 of the National Road Traffic Act to document and investigate all serious and repeat transgressions. The Minister will make these available to the Provincial Operating Licencing Board (POLB) and, for serial transgressors, request that the POLB consider not issuing operating licences for buses registered in the Province or concurrence for buses registered elsewhere.
We will vigorously pursue an amendment to the national legislation to allow the Provincial Government to withdraw the licences of bus fleet operators who's buses have an objectively verified track record of roadworthy or roadsafety non-compliance.
Let it be clear that bus operators who allow unsafe buses or drunk drivers to put the publics safety at risk are in our sightlines and their days are truly numbered said Minister Max. His sentiment is echoed by Minister Carlisle: While we cannot immediately ban dangerous bus operators, we are doing every thing else available in the law to keep our roads safe.
Media Liaison Officer
Ministry of Transport and Public Works
Western Cape Provincial Government
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