_: Two of the five professional drivers from Mpumalanga were named best drivers at the Union Internationale des Chauffeurs Routiers (UICR) 28th World Professional Drivers Championships held at Sun City in the North West Province on Friday, 10 August 2012.
The winners were announced at a Gala dinner that was preceded by competitions which were held from 8 to 10 August 2012. Simon Motsepe and Solomon Ntuli won in Bus and Light Delivery Vehicle categories respectively. Motsepe is a bus driver from Putco while Ntuli is employed by ESKOM. Mpumalanga drivers have also assisted the country to win in categories such as Rigid, Bus and Light Delivery vehicle categories.
Speaking after the awards, Mpumalanga Community Safety, Security and Liaison MEC, Vusi Shongwe applauded the winners saying that they did not only make the country and the province proud, but their participation in the competition will greatly assist in promoting road safety.
Shongwe said that such initiatives should be supported by all because heavy vehicle drivers need to assist government to reduce road accidents by driving as safely as possible.
The MEC said business must assist government to promote road safety by continuously training their drivers and monitoring their driving habits and compliance with rules and regulations governing goods and passenger transportation.
He added that driver competitions are imperative as they promote regular practising which is vital towards promoting road safety. He said it is not only enough for drivers to acquire driving licenses and permits, but they need to continuously improve their driving skills.
The MEC has also called on business to ensure that their vehicles remain in good condition and are regularly serviced in order to ensure vehicle and diver safety at all times.
“We applaud the sponsors who saw it fit to dedicate some of their resources to such an innovative exercise. It is not only the responsibility of government to make our roads safer, we must all lend a hand to create safe transportation of commuters and goods,” the MEC said.
Shongwe said the department will continue to work with all stakeholders in both government and the private sectors to ensure that road safety are enhanced in order to prevent unnecessary loss of lives and injuries on the road.
Meanwhile, Motsepe, the winner in the Bus Category, said he is excited to have been named a winner at such a high profile event. He was extremely grateful to the department for all the support that was provided to him and his fellow drivers.
He said that they will share the skills that they have acquired with their fellow drivers in order to assist the country to have more competent professional drivers so that road safety could be continuously enhanced.
The department has supported its drivers from the regional and provincial finals prior to competing in Pretoria earlier this year where 15 participants were identified to represent the whole country at this year’s international competition.
This competition was among others sponsored by ESKOM, Engen, Scania and Barloworld Logistics. The participant’s abilities were tested in categories such as truck over 12 tons, truck and trailer, apprentice 22 years or younger; truck over 12 tons and 3, 5 tons delivery truck.
The assessment consisted of practical assessment, theoretical assessment, and pre-trip as well as load inspection assessment. The aim of the competition is to improve the standard of heavy vehicle driving, encourage companies to promote competent and safe drivers and also to develop and educate drivers on the importance of road safety while testing them on productivity, technical skills and theory.