Opening of the Knysna Provincial Traffic Centre
- The Executive Mayor of Knysna, Georlene Wolmarans.
- The Municipal Manager of the town, Ms Lauren Waring.
- The Knysna Traffic Chief Mr Steven Langand, the Acting Traffic Chief of George Municipality, Mr Pat Jordaan.
- The Plettenberg Bay/Bitou traffic representatives, Mr Jerry Swiegers and Mr Pat Ganga.
- The South African Police Services Representatives of Knysna and Plettenberg Bay, Colonel A T Methu and Colonel Nolan Michaels.
- The Senior Magistrate of Knysna, Mr I B J van der Merwe.
- The representative of the Education Department, Mr Thandabantu Ndamasa.
- The Deputy Director-General of Transport and Public Works’ Transport Management Branch, Kyle Reinecke.
- The Provincial Traffic Chief, Kenny Africa and his team, Donald Lakey, Pat Curran, Farrel Payne and Vukile Oliphant.
- The dedicated staff of this Knysna Traffic Office.
It is always good to be back in the Southern Cape and it is especially good to meet with our dedicated provincial traffic officials. Yesterday I met with your colleagues at the Mossel Bay traffic centre and left with a positive impression.
Before I found my way into politics I had retired to Plettenberg Bay. It was always good to reach Knysna on my way home because then I knew I did not have far to go.
Knysna is one of the more picturesque and better-known holiday destinations in Africa and safe roads are one of the crucial factors in ensuring that the town continues growing as a holiday destination. The town is also situated on one of South Africa’s trade routes, the N2 which is crucial in providing passage for fruit farmers from the Langkloof and beyond who often have to transport their produce to Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.
From a provincial traffic perspective, this office plays an important role because it services two magisterial districts – Bitou and the Greater Knysna area. This provincial traffic office covers approximately 367 square kilometres. It needs to provide services to three South African Police Service centres, one provincial hospital in Knysna as well as two private hospitals – one in Knysna and one in Plettenberg Bay.
The office also provides an education service to learners, safety education to taxi commuters, transport education to businesses in the area and road safety training to other government departments particularly to SANPARKS.
Operational effectiveness is a key factor in ensuring the contribution of traffic officials to overall traffic safety and management. In this regard the Knysna office has done well. And I base this assertion on the achievements by Knysna Provincial Traffic over the last couple of years. Noticeable was the role of Provincial Traffic in assisting the police and the courts in arresting the group of young men who were apprehended for the so-called Jansenville Farm murders.
Provincial traffic officials are active on weekends through their Alcohol Blitz Operations to ensure drunk drivers stay off our roads and that tired drivers rest before continuing with their journeys.
Knysna Provincial Traffic officials are also key players in the daily learner transport operations, the monthly inter-provincial corridor road blocks with the Eastern Cape Department of Transport and cross-border integrated road blocks that take place on a regular basis. The Knysna Provincial Traffic office is also involved in local partnerships with the taxi associations and security companies.
In fact, the partnerships provincial traffic officials have with other government departments form an important part of the harmonious working relationship which exists amongst all partners.
There are, however, operational challenges in spite of all these positive aspects.
Not enough human resources is always a challenge and we continue to lose staff members who join municipal traffic services because of better conditions of employment. Broken equipment that is not fixed in time remains a challenge and the conduct of some, although a small number, of provincial officials does not contribute to the positive public image the rest of their colleagues enjoy.
But in general the provincial officials in Knysna enjoy a constructive and healthy relationship with the community they serve. The office has an open door policy and the community is aware that we try to address any concerns as quickly and efficiently as possible.
This new office will, I am sure, make community access easier.
It is within walking distance from the local SAPS and traffic department. It can be accessed both on foot and by car and there is ample parking. It is also in close proximity to the Justice Department and virtually adjacent to the Main Road that leads to the N2. In other words, it can be easily located by motorists who need our assistance.
But please, as we remember our motorists as clients who need our service, we should not forget other road users. For example, 28 of the 69 people who died on our roads in August 2014 were pedestrians. It is thus encouraging to see provincial traffic play a crucial role in educating learners and pedestrians about safe walking but we should increase our efforts.
Nekkies near Hornlee is one of those pedestrian hazardous locations. As the Department of Transport and Public Works that has road safety as a mandate, we have to take whatever realistic steps we can to improve this situation. This includes the dedication and foresight with which you approach your responsibility.
I sincerely hope the new premises will motivate all of you, our guardians on our roads, to improve our service to the road users and public. And I hope this office will be one of the resources that will contribute to making transport in our province safer, and better together with our public.
I thank you.