Transport portfolio committee says ‘public roads are not race tracks for trucks’

Twenty people, 18 children and two adults, were killed in a horror crash on the N2 between Pongola and Itshelejuba on Friday. Picture: First Call Assist

Twenty people, 18 children and two adults, were killed in a horror crash on the N2 between Pongola and Itshelejuba on Friday. Picture: First Call Assist

Published Oct 6, 2022


Durban — The parliamentary portfolio committee on transport has called on the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport to get involved and penalise people because roads were not “race tracks for trucks”.

Portfolio committee chairperson Mosebenzi Zwane spoke on KwaZulu-Natal and the lives that were lost because of trucks when he was reflecting on Transport Month, saying that the committee would keep its eye on the department’s work during the month.

The committee sent condolences to the families of those who lost loved ones in the recent spate of reckless driving by truck drivers in KwaZulu-Natal.

“We call on the department to get involved. If it means penalising people, that must happen. Public roads are not race tracks for trucks. There must be accountability; this much we demand,” Zwane said.

The department pledged to further advance the country’s road safety initiatives when it launched Transport Month earlier in the week. The committee will earnestly engage with its oversight responsibilities when it returns from recess next week.

On Transport Month, Zwane welcomed the Department of Transport’s initial response to Transport Month and the news that a major route operated by the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa was now back in operation

“This realisation for the people of Mamelodi is testament that the department and its entities are working hard to restore South Africa’s faith in its public transport, particularly rail. This gives us hope that the central line in Cape Town will soon be up and running,” Zwane said.

“South Africans expect no less from the department than good and efficient service. We cannot be lamenting the vandalism of rail infrastructure forever. Hence, the committee is pleased when the Minister (Fikile Mbalula) and the team get into action and resolve challenges.”

Zwane said the committee’s dream would be realised only when all forms of public transport are able to interface with one another and offer the maximum benefits of affordable and safe public transport for poor South Africans.

“In fact, every month should be Transport Month. Our people are desperate for access to economic opportunities. The sad reality is that they were deliberately driven out of economic activity, and that means we need to work hard to link them up with economic centres without transport fares eating up their meagre salaries.”

Zwane said the committee would watch with keen eyes developments in the sector during this term of its work.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, KZN Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Sipho Hlomuka launched the province’s Transport Month with a massive enforcement operation on the N3 in Mooi River.

Hlomuka also unveiled a multi-pronged enforcement plan focusing on compliance of the heavy vehicles on the N3 in Mooi River.

The launch comes as the province is reeling from the devastating Pongola truck accident that claimed 20 lives hence this year’s theme: Safety starts with me!

The theme is a call to drivers and all road users to take responsibility and start acting right in saving lives and reducing crashes on the road.

During the launch of October Transport Month on Monday, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said he would visit KZN shortly to assess the progress on rehabilitating rail and road infrastructure destroyed by the floods in April.

“This would include rail and road infrastructure because people say we went to KwaZulu-Natal, made promises and left them.

“We will go back to KwaZulu-Natal to give a report and showcase the work that has been done to recover the infrastructure that had collapsed,” Mbalula said.

More than 400 people died in the floods that wreaked havoc and damaged critical infrastructure in the province – including Bayhead Road, which is a strategic route for the movement of cargo to the Port of Durban.

The South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (Sanral) allocated R3.1 billion to infrastructure repair projects in KZN, while the provincial government reprioritised its budget and allocated R2.6bn.

Daily News