The Easter weekend is seen as a time to spend with family - and thousands of motorists will be travelling around the country for these reunions. This is why authorities have put in place plans to avoid road fatalities.
The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) has implemented a national blueprint called the National Rolling Enforcement Plan.
The plan aims to ensure there is an effective and co-ordinated law enforcement operation that reduces offences and crashes on the roads, said RTMC spokeswoman Thato Mosena.
"It is a living, dynamic plan that provides a seamless, year-round enforcement plan that responds to the needs and demands of the prevailing circumstances in a smart, effective and efficient fashion in order to make the biggest impact on our roads," she said.
"The plan during this Easter period will see greater collaboration among all enforcement agencies across the three tiers of government, which will see high visibility and high-impact interventions…," said Mosena.
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ZERO TOLERANCE IN GAUTENG
In Gauteng, Joburg Metro police department (JMPD) officers kicked off their campaign on Wednesday, pulling over taxis and motorists to check if their vehicles were roadworthy and if they had valid documentation.
Member of the mayoral committee for public safety Sello Lemao said there would be zero tolerance for people who did not abide by road safety laws. Lemao said he wanted motorists to take responsibility for their behaviour on the road.
The campaign's success would depend on collaboration between the JMPD and motorists.
The focus was on buses at Park station and taxis at the Noord Street taxi rank. Traffic officers were also out at various intersections, checking licence disks, driving licences and vehicle roadworthiness.
Lemao said people should ensure their own safety and check their vehicles before taking trips.
The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) is working with authorities in various parts of the country to help decrease the number of road accidents.
Santaco operations manager David Murogolo said they had a road safety initiative, called Operation Hlokomela, which would also check driver fitness and vehicle roadworthiness.
Wayne Minnaar, the JMPD spokesman, said breathalyser tests would also be conducted.
CAPE CLAMPING DOWN
In Cape Town, city traffic and metro police held a joint roadblock on the M5 between Athlone and Rondebosch on Wednesday.
Some motorists were pulled over for drunk-driving, the mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, said. Officers also checked vehicles for roadworthiness, overloading and motorists with outstanding warrants.
“This is an early warning to the public over the weekend: do not drink and drive,” Smith said.
“Whether you're a mayor or a spokesperson, whoever you think you are, if you're caught driving drunk nothing will save you. You will face the music. Please do not drink on our roads.”
Smith said during the Easter holidays traffic officers would target major contributors to road fatalities such as drunk-driving, speeding, motorists and passengers not using safety belts, and motorists using cellphones while driving.
He said the city would also deploy officers on the beaches and major highways to inspect long distance buses and taxis.
Wednesday's roadblock on the M5 was one of many safety initiatives authorities have planned for the long weekend. Transport MEC Robin Carlisle will launch the provincial government's safety plan, focused on reducing the road fatality rate, at a roadblock on the N1 near the Huguenot Tunnel on Thursday.
Last year 14 people were killed on Western Cape roads over Easter. This was a decrease from 2012 when 20 people were killed.
Carlisle's spokesman, Siphesihle Dube, said they expected this number to decrease further because of the province's safety interventions.
They would focus on speed reduction, drunk-driving, driver fitness and vehicle roadworthiness.
“Last year, over 22 000 vehicles were stopped and checked with 3 370 people screened for alcohol over the Easter weekend alone,” Dube said.
He said the department was also running the “sticker project”, where long-distance vehicles fit for travelling are given stickers.
“Drivers of these long distance public transport vehicles are then asked to produce these stickers when being inspected by provincial traffic officials along our national roads while they travel to places around and out of the province.”
The Star & Cape Times