High visibility of uniformed traffic officials, clearly marked vehicles and mobile testing stations will be the order the day, as the Transport Department rolls out its festive season campaign.
“The common practice of hiding officers or vehicles to apprehend traffic offenders is counter-productive and antagonises citizens that are normally law-abiding. The challenging situation we are faced with calls upon us to make a fundamental shift and start doing differently this year,” said Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi
This radical shift will be achieved by ensuring that traffic officers come out of the bushes and crack down on drunken driving as a leading contributor to traffic violations that cause unnecessary crashes and fatalities.
On Tuesday, Minister Maswanganyi unveiled this plan at the launch of festive season campaign in Bela-Bela township, in Limpopo.
The Minister was flanked by his Deputy Minister Sindidiwe Chikunga, Transport Acting Director-General Mathabatha Mokonyama and Limpopo Transport MEC Makoma Makhurupetje.
According to MEC Makhurupetje, Bela-Bela was strategically chosen for the launch as it serves as the gateway to Limpopo tourism and offers access to the borders of neighbouring African countries. This results in extreme traffic volumes in the province.
The department said its plan to deviate from the outdated hide and seek method will see it nab more people who violate the rules of the road. Motorists can expect to see uniformed officers patrol freeways, streets and public places in clearly marked vehicles which is deemed as the best means available for the prevention of road traffic violations.
“In a few days, many employed citizens of our country will receive their pay bonuses and this will undoubtedly set off a chain reaction of alcohol drinking spree that will lead to the loss of lives on our roads.
“This includes the voluminous scheduled travel for leisure and attendance of religious pilgrimages which as well have the capacity to increase road carnages,” said the Minister.
The department anticipates that the weekend leading to December 16 and the extended Christmas long weekend, as well as the New Year’s Day long week will be particularly challenging and taxing on traffic law enforcement officers.
However, the transport department says it is equal to the task and will implement the 24-hour shift for traffic officers this year.
“I call on all road users to not drink and drive, text and drive, reduce your speed, buckle up and beware of pedestrians,” said the Minister.
He said these are human factors that can easily be avoided. If adhered to and implemented, they will lead to a decline of deaths and injuries on South African roads
“Let there be no tolerance for drunken driving, speeding, reckless and negligent driving and all forms of lawlessness on the roads,” said the Minister.