Cape Town-120830- A minibus carrying 18 school learners was impounded and the driver arrested for various traffic offences during a scholar Transport Operation at three schools in Mitchells Plain by Education MEC Donald Grant (left in pic) Robin and Carlisle along with the Western Cape Transport and Public Works conducted-Reporter-Ilse-Photographer-Tracey Adams

Five drivers were arrested and 88 traffic fines were issued during an early-morning operation outside three Mitchells Plain primary schools on Thursday.

None of the drivers had operating licences. The operation, at Springdale, West End and Jamaica Way primary schools, was conducted after complaints from people who were concerned about children being transported in overloaded vehicles and the state of some of the vehicles.

Merle Lourens, spokeswoman for Cape Town traffic services, said the fines were issued for offences including operating without driving licenses and professional driving permits, failing to wear safety belts and general mechanical defects such as defective brakes and hooters.

In some cases the seatbelts had been removed while in another an extra seat had been placed in a vehicle to accommodate extra passengers. The licences of eight vehicles, including a Toyota Condor and a Toyota Avanza, were suspended, as they were unroadworthy.

Lourens said the operations would be ongoing.

Transport MEC Robin Carlisle and Education MEC Donald Grant joined the traffic officers at Springdale Primary.

One of the vehicle stopped was transporting 18 children and it was believed that some children had already been dropped off at schools. One of the passenger seats was completely loose.

Carlisle said: “Although the situation has improved since we first started conducting these operations three years ago, it is nowhere near being satisfactory.

“I understand the difficulties that parents face in getting their children to school.”

“Government cannot ensure their children’s safety on its own. While I believe we need to greatly increase the number of traffic police available in the province, parents must also take every practical step to ensure that the transport used is safe and reliable and that the driver has the relevant records and authorisation.”

He said pupil transport law enforcement was an ongoing process that took place weekly across the province.

Children travelling in suspended vehicles were transferred to minibuses provided by the Department of Transport and Public Works.

Grant said legislation to protect small children in vehicles had to be tightened up.

He said statistics showed that it was young children who don’t wear seatbelts were the ones that were at risk. - Cape Argus