More traffic cops should be on duty all the time - Mbalula after Limpopo crashes
There should be more traffic officers on the country’s roads, their employment conditions should be improved and they should be on the roads 24 hours a day.
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula made this comment to traffic officers in Polokwane on Tuesday following a visit to the transport department offices in the province, where he met met traffic authorities.
Mbalula's visit was intended to get an explanation following a spate of accidents in Limpopo which left more than 40 dead at the long weekend.
In the deadliest accident, on Sunday night, 24 people travelling in a minibus taxi died when their vehicle collided with a bus on the R81.
Following the meeting on Tuesday, Mbalula outlined the plans by his department to fight the carnage on the roads.
“We want to increase boots on the ground. I have been briefed by the CEO of the Road Traffic Management Corporation that we have 22,000 officers on the ground. Those numbers need to increase. We also need to regulate the number of hours worked,” Mbalula said.
Mbalula said the accident on Sunday occurred after 10pm, when officers had long knocked off.
“We want traffic officers 24/7 on the ground. Do not hide yourself. Be visible on the road, our job is deterrence and catching those who break the law,” Mbalula said.
He said although traffic officers were blamed following fatalities, society did not take responsibility for drunkenness on the roads or for reckless driving and did not respect the laws of the road. “Nobody takes responsibility.”
Mbalula said those who undermined the rule of law by driving drunk must be arrested. “The law must bite. The law must make it difficult for anyone who thinks of breaking the law to think there are no consequences,” Mbalula said.
Mbalula urged traffic officers not to take bribes, adding that corruption was among the reasons why the country has so many road deaths.
“Let us not allow individuals with intentions to undermine the rule of law to undermine what you are doing. Some of you work overtime. We need to adjust and do other things to change the way traffic officers are treated in SA.”