Government to deal with lawlessness on SA roads

Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi says government is serious about dealing with the continued lawlessness on South Africa’s roads.

Minister Maswanganyi was speaking on Saturday during the funeral service of 19 people, who were killed in a taxi crash in KwaXimba, KwaZulu-Natal, last week.

The taxi driver, who was carrying 26 passengers in a 16-seater taxi, lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a barrier on a bridge. The vehicle then rolled down an embankment and landed near Msunduzi Dam.

The victims were laid to rest on Saturday after a funeral service held at Manzolwandle Sport Ground, outside Pietermaritzburg.

The Minister said the most important catalysts, which can bring about an improvement in driver behaviour and law compliance, were well planned, efficient and effective law enforcement, with the support of an equally effective and just road traffic adjudication system � the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO).

Points Demerit System

Minister Maswanganyi said government will implement the ‘points demerit’ system in order to further ensure the necessary punitive measures to offending road users.

Explaining how the ‘points demerit’ system will work, Minister Maswanganyi said in the event that a driver commits a traffic offence, a pre-determined number of points which are allocated to that offence will be awarded against his driver’s license.

After 12 points have been exceeded, there is an automatic driving ban for a period in months equal to three times the number of points by which 12 is exceeded i.e. if a driver reaches 14 points, he will be banned from driving for a period of six months.

Points can be reduced at a rate of one point per three month period, providing no further demerit points are incurred during that period. Should a driver be disqualified for a third time, then his licence will be permanently revoked, and he must re-apply for his learner’s licence and begin the process from scratch, but only after the expiry of the disqualification period, Minister Maswanganyi said.

He said that imposing serious consequences on repeat offenders at the same time as being fair on those who comply with the law, is a strong incentive to drivers to obey the rules of the road.

By changing the mind set of drivers, we hope to effect a significant reduction in the number of traffic crashes and fatalities on our roads.

Government committed to provide well maintained roads

Minister Maswanganyi added that government is committed to deliver on its mandate to provide good and well maintained roads as arteries for economic growth, and also to provide access to economic opportunities for people.

He said it is undisputed that infrastructure development and service delivery are crucial for economic growth, and for alleviating poverty, reducing the scourge of inequality and for increasing international competitiveness.

Through South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL), we are progressively reshaping the KwaZulu-Natal landscape with current and pipeline projects worth more than R21.6 billion that will redefine the safety and convenience aspects of road transport infrastructure in this province, the Minister said.

Condolences to victims’ families

Minister Maswanganyi expressed his condolences to the families of the deceased and wished for a speedy recovery to other passengers who were recuperating in hospitals.

He also encouraged the families to visit Road Accident Fund (RAF) in 17 Hospital Service Centres when they need more information or assistance from the fund.

Through the RAF, government will further assist the families by originating the loss of support claims for the dependents of the deceased and also assist with post-crash care, the Minister said.

Source: South African Government News Agency