_: Mpumalanga Community Safety, Security and Liaison MEC Vusi Shongwe encouraged drivers to act responsibly every day whenever driving on the road and not only when they participated in competitions.
Shongwe was speaking during an award ceremony on August 18, 2012 of the Driver of the Year Competition that started on 17 August 2012 where drivers of heavy motor vehicles from different companies and regions of the province competed in various categories. The categories are female bus, male bus, rigid, rigid and 4 wheel, articulated, and 3,5 ton vehicles.
Out of the 69 drivers that entered for the provincial competition, 19 men and women were named the best provincial drivers who will represent the province at the national competition. The drivers received certificates, trophies and money ranging from R5000 to R15 000 each for their dedication.
During his address, the MEC said that the drivers should be road safety ambassadors of the province by raising awareness on road safety and instil responsible driving to other motorists.
“We are celebrating your successes today; however, we do not expect you after this competition to go out and misbehave on the road as we will not hesitate to act harshly for trying to put people’s lives in danger. From today, you are road safety ambassadors,” said Shongwe.
He added that the department is currently doing great in terms of educating road users about road safety; however, there is still more to be done to reduce road accidents.
“We must convert these accolades and increase the number of quality drivers on our roads and be harsh on those who want to speed, drink and drive as well as driving un-roadworthy vehicles,” added the MEC.
Shongwe further said that law enforcers needed to be harsh on the people who use their cell phones while driving as they are the ones who are most likely to cause accidents while concentrating on the phone.
Meanwhile, one of the drivers Ms Mavis Nyakane (30) who came first in the female bus category said that drivers needed to be patient to one another to avoid accidents.
Nyakane started driving a bus in 2011 and said she has experienced on number of occasions drivers of heavy motor vehicles fail to obey road signs.
She said that government must do more to educate drivers especially the ones driving heavy motor vehicles and public transport about road safety.
“Best driving is not about the number of years one has been driving, but to obey road rules. Many of drivers think that because they have been driving for many years, they are best drivers, we must change this stereotype, it is what kills our nation,” concluded Nyakane.
MEC Shongwe also congratulated Ms Josephine Masango, a woman who came second in the 3.5 ton category which was dominated by men.
Shongwe said that women must take up the challenge and refrain from the stereotype that heavy motor vehicles are only driven by men.
The provincial winners are; in the Bus Female category, Mavis Nkanyane from Great North Transport came first then followed by Sophia Khanye from MNS Transport and Lindiwe Thela from Mega bus came third.
In the Bus Male category, Thapelo Masuku from Great North Transport came first then followed by Isaac Nkuna from Buscor and Lucky Vilakazi form Vuka Transport.
Zweli Mlombo from Tanker Services came first in the articulated category, then followed by Kagiso Mohole from SAB and Lucas Mthimunye from Engen.
In the 3.5 ton vehicle, Sipho Mkhatshwa form Transnet came first, followed by Josephine Masango from Midbank, and Nicholas Ntusi from the Department of Health in Emergency Medical Service (EMS).
Moses Mtsweni from Department of Public Works Roads and Transport came first on the Rigid category, then followed by Jonker Lubisi from Bushbuckridge Municipality and Mmalalo Mokgwawa also from Department of Public Works Roads and Transport.
In the Rigid and 4 wheel trailer category, Magezi Shirinda from SAB came first, then followed by Joel Mooketsi from Freight Dynamic and Sifiso Mabuza from Eskan.
Andrew Godi from Tanker Services was the overall winner with the highest road test score.
MEC Shongwe later awarded the two men, Simon Motsepe and Solomon Ntuli who won in the International Driver of the Year competition last week with trophies and a R10 000 cheque each.