File picture: Willem Law / Independent Media.
Pretoria - Potholes, lack of roads and impatient passengers are some of the issues that impede attempts to achieve road safety.

These were among the challenges highlighted by taxi association representatives attending the City of Tshwane’s road safety campaign in Hammanskraal yesterday.

The campaign, called TshwaAlert, was launched in February to focus on sustaining law enforcement efforts throughout the year, as opposed to only during the festive season periods and long weekends.

John Nkuna, who chairs 10 taxi associations within the Hammanskraal area, said their operators were aware of the dangers that reckless driving posed to commuters and themselves.

Nkuna, however, implored city representatives to deal with the poor state of the roads, look into creating parking stations and the establishment of drop-off points.

“We know that driving in the yellow lane is dangerous but our drivers have to contend with passengers constantly telling them that they are running late for work.

“All we ask is for additional lanes to be built in the area. If we had at least two extra lanes that could help ease traffic in our community,” he said.

Metro Police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba highlighted that they had received numerous complaints of taxis operating in Lynnwood, Centurion and the Mabopane Highway using the yellow-line lanes.

Mahamba said these infringements led to unnecessary accidents.

“A large number of our youths between the ages of 20 and 39 are dying on a daily basis due to these accidents and we are worried about this issue.

"That is why we have gone out in our numbers to taverns and other places to urge passengers not to travel with intoxicated and reckless drivers,” he said.

Mahamba pleaded with taxi representatives to work with the department by ensuring that drivers had the necessary documentation and adhered to safety regulations.

MMC for Housing Mandla Nkomo, standing in for his Roads and Transport counterpart Sheila Senkubuge, applauded the taxi representatives for being able to voice their frustrations during their march on Thursday without resorting to violence.

“The future of this country is in your hands because you ferry so many of our people.

"Taxi drivers and owners deserve respect from everyone because the perception that has been created that they are violent is not true.”

TshwaAlert was launched on February 1 and will run until February next year, focusing on sustaining law enforcement efforts throughout the year.

The need for the intervention came after minister of transport at the time Dipuo Peters released the festive season road death statistics in January.

The statistics revealed that during the 2015/16 festive season 75 people were killed on the city’s roads, increasing to 83 last year.

Hammanskraal is the campaign’s second pit-stop after it started in Soshanguve.

Community safety MMC Derek Kissundooth warned that hefty fines would be imposed on those found on the wrong side of the law.

“Most of the accidents are caused by absolute stupidity.

"We cannot allow that to continue follow the rules of the road and this campaign will yield results,” Kissundooth said.

Pretoria News

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