The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called on KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Transport MEC, Peggy Nkonyeni, to urgently review stricter road safety regulations, particularly when it comes to transporting learners who use both public and private operators.
This includes the amendment of provincial regulations, making it difficult for anyone to break the rules of the road – and that when they do, they face severe punishment.
The increased measures requested by the DA include the re-assessment and amendment of speed limits in high accident zones, ensuring that law enforcement is strictly adhered to, increased driver training for both private and public transport operators and keeping unroadworthy and unlicensed vehicles off KZN’s roads.
The move by the DA comes after a spate of crashes in the province during the past week, one of which claimed the lives of two young learners in Pietermaritzburg. This while a further 12 people were killed in a horror crash near Ixopo and 14 children and 50 adults were injured when the bus they were travelling in overturned in the KZN Midlands yesterday.
The DA extends its sincere condolences to the parents of these two young people who have been so tragically taken long before their time. In addition, we extend our best wishes for a speedy recovery to those who were injured.
It is clear that KZN’s Department of Transport (DoT) needs to do things differently. It cannot continue to send condolences messages to families who have lost children, while it allows reckless and irresponsible drivers to literally get away with murder.
Despite the Covid-19 lockdown regulations – which in theory means fewer learners going to school – the number of crashes involving children on both public and private transport has drastically increased.
In most cases, these accidents involve minibus taxis and trucks. Yet, to date, the truck/bus and taxi association and the Department of Transport have been silent on any plans aimed at ensuring that there are responsible drivers behind the wheel.
The DA has called on the DoT, on numerous occasions, to take firm action against those drivers who endanger the lives of other road users. Today, we again call on the MEC and her Department to take proactive measures and curb the number of innocent lives being lost on KZN’s roads.
For this to happen, the MEC and her Department must engage with relevant stakeholders such as the province’s Community Safety and Education Departments, SAPS, Metro Police, Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI), Public Works and Arrive Alive.
The DA remains committed to holding the DoT to account when it comes to the unacceptable carnage on our roads. The MEC needs to take our proposals into consideration as a matter of extreme urgency.