Transport MEC Robin Carlisle says the province is already checking vehicles transporting school pupils, after yesterday’s instruction by the national Transport Ministry that all buses and taxis be stopped and checked on South Africa’s roads.
Carlise said the additional checks had been introduced after last week’s bus accident in Knysna in which 14 children and their bus driver died.
Yesterday Carlisle’s spokesman, Steven Otter, said the process of checking pupil transport vehicles “went above and beyond the contractual six-monthly inspections and had started last week”.
“Most such vehicles have been tested in the George area and this will spread across the province. All public transport vehicles will also be thoroughly checked at roadblocks and at exit and entry points out of and into the province,” he said.
Asked how the checking of public transport would work, national Transport Ministry spokesman Logan Maistry said it would be up to each province to implement the instruction based on their local conditions.
“Every bus and taxi should be checked, even depots, and a traffic-offences survey should be completed to see which routes are used the most and where enforcement is lacking. It is not going to be a one case fits all approach, it will depend on provincial conditions.”
He said the department would use this month to focus on public transport checks.
“Checks have been done before, with each province having its own plan and units specifically for public transport,” Maistry said.
Transport Minister S’bu Ndebele said: “We cannot have public transport operators who are interested only in making a quick buck, no matter what. All public transport operators must ensure that their passengers are transported safely and reliably. Basic minimum quality standards must be in place to transport passengers in a safe, efficient and reliable manner.”