N Cape women-led roadblock commended

Pretoria: The women-driven roadblock, held in the Northern Cape, has been hailed as an initiative that sends a strong message that women are ready to provide a lasting solution to road fatalities.

As part of events to mark the closure of Women’s Month, the provincial Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison had a roadblock led by female traffic officers, known as operation Natifisa Pharakanyo, on the R31 Mataleng Crossing in Barkley West on Thursday.

A taxi driver stopped during the operation, George Damoense, said: “The female traffic officers’ roadblock will help to send a clear message to us as motorists that female traffic officers are also ready to provide a lasting solution to road fatalities.

“We appreciate the women-driven operation, as it encourages people to comply with the law and would like to see the operation of its nature unfold regularly.”

His sentiments were echoed by Portia Mthembu, who was also stopped during the operation.

“The magnitude of this operation … shows the seriousness of the message that the women in law enforcement wanted to convey … I hope this operation will encourage other road users to respect and honour female traffic officers.”

The department’s communication officer, Keitumetse Moticoe, said the roadblock was aimed at celebrating women in law enforcement, as well as to show road users that female traffic officers also serve with honour and excellence.

The operation was in collaboration with the Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison, South African Police Service (SAPS), Home Affairs’ immigration unit and Women against Crime in Barkley West.

The routine inspection operation stopped and checked 224 vehicles for roadworthiness, driver fitness, licences, stolen items, illegal immigrants and illegal substances.

During the operation, nine illegal immigrants were arrested, eight traffic fines issued and 300 pamphlets distributed.

Moticoe said the department also hoped to encourage road users to abide by the rules of the road and respect all law enforcement officers.

“Road users should remember to always buckle up, not to drink and drive or walk, to be cautious on the road and to exercise patience at all times,” she said.

One of the female officers at the roadblock, Constable Keneilwe Molutsi of the SAPS, said: “This operation gives us an opportunity as women in law enforcement to show that it is not only our male colleagues who can do this job with pride and excellence, but [we as women] can do it too.”