Traffic officers will be more visible this festive season. File photo

High visibility of uniformed traffic officials, clearly marked vehicles and mobile testing stations will be the order of the day this festive season.

This was the assertion of Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi in a recent statement issued by the South African Government News Agency on their website.

“The common practice of hiding officers or vehicles to apprehend traffic offenders is counter-productive and antagonises citizens that are normally law-abiding. The challenging situation we are faced with calls upon us to make a fundamental shift and start doing things differently this year,” said Maswanganyi.

This radical shift, said the statement, would be achieved by ensuring that traffic officers "came out of the bushes" and crack down on drunken driving as a leading contributor to traffic violations that caused unnecessary crashes and fatalities.

In this file photo, officers arrest six suspects during the festive season launch roadblock held on Borcherds Quarry Road. Picture: Bruce Sutherland

On Tuesday, Maswanganyi unveiled this plan at the launch of the festive season campaign in Bela-Bela township, in Limpopo.

The department said its plan to deviate from the outdated hide and seek method would see it nab more people who violated the rules of the road. 

Motorists can expect to see uniformed officers patrol freeways, streets and public places in clearly marked vehicles which is deemed as the best means available for the prevention of road traffic violations.

“In a few days, many ... will receive their pay bonuses and this will undoubtedly set off a chain reaction of alcohol drinking spree that will lead to the loss of lives on our roads."

The department anticipated that the weekend leading to December 16 and the extended Christmas long weekend, as well as the New Year’s Day long week would be particularly challenging and taxing on traffic law enforcement officers.

However, the transport department said it was "equal to the task" and would implement a 24-hour shift for traffic officers this year.

“I call on all road users to not drink and drive, text and drive, reduce their speed, buckle up and beware of pedestrians."

The Mercury