The MMC for public safety Michael Sun and ward 70 councillor Caleb Finn joined JMPD officers at Unified Primary School in Roodepoort to inspect scholar transport vehicles. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Johannesburg - The MMC for public safety Michael Sun and ward 70 councillor Caleb Finn joined Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) officers at Unified Primary School in Roodepoort, Region C to inspect scholar transport vehicles.

The department of public safety said the police and the MMC visited the school on Thursday.

"Four of these vehicles were subsequently impounded due to their unroadworthiness and dangerous conditions," public safety's Luyanda Longwe said in a statement.

The department said the JMPD found that these vehicles, which transport dozens of children every school day, were in a shocking state of disrepair and contravened an array of safety regulations. 

"These ranged from missing wheel nuts, worn tyres, malfunctioning headlights and wipers blades, broken seats and doors, lack of safety belts to expired license disks which all posed potential danger which could result in accidents, serious injuries and even deaths," Longwe said.

The inspection formed part of the department’s Back to School Safety Campaign, set to roll out to all seven regions in the City.

"It aims to ensure scholar transport compliance to road and safety regulations so that the safety of the young passengers as well as those of other motorists are well looked after."

The department said the campaign also aimed to drive awareness among parents, schools and scholars on how to select reliable transport and operators who adhere to safety regulations.

“The safety of our children is non-negotiable. We simply cannot allow fly-by-night operators to play with the precious lives of our children. 

"We will to this end ensure that all impounded vehicles are only to be released once the owners have rectified and fixed up all the defects,” Sun said.

Longwe said the Back to School Safety Campaign was over and above the day to day operations by JMPD which would be conducted to ensure general road safety.

He urged parents and schools to take care in choosing transport options for schools, including to consider using reputable operators with roadworthy, safe and properly licensed vehicles. 

He said they should ensure that drivers are properly licensed, that they are fit for the job and that the drivers' and operators' contact details are always readily available.

Longwe said the school should be able to conduct regular checks on the vehicles and communicate with drivers to ensure that the vehicles are not overloaded and each passenger had adequate seating with safety belts.

"Don’t be shy to approach the driver or operator if you are unsatisfied with anything, your child’s life is more important than anything else,” he said.

During the operation, Sun met the scholar patrol team. "It was most impressive to see how these young yet responsible school children are taking safety very seriously and they are indeed exemplary even to some of the adults."

African News Agency (ANA)