Thousands of holidaymakers start heading off to various destinations today. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Pretoria - Thousands of people are expected to start leaving the metro areas - including Pretoria - and travel to their festive season holiday destinations from today.

Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) spokesperson Simon Zwane said law enforcement officers had been instructed to make immediate arrests for serious offences.

He said this was despite the motion for drunk drivers to be jailed for a minimum of seven days before appearing in court being still under consideration.

“Drunk and negligent drivers found driving at 160km/* in 120km/* zones; and 120km/* or 140km/* in 100km/* zones should not even bother showing their licences because they will be arrested on the spot.”

National Taxi Alliance spokesperson Alpheus Mlalazi said campaigns were held to prepare drivers and patrollers to ensure they and their vehicles were fit to take passengers across the country.

He said all affiliated taxi associations in the metro and countrywide took part in the Ndlelanhle road safety and customer safety campaign to ensure avoidable accidents did not occur.

“Our patrollers are checking the roadworthiness of taxis and officials will be assessing that drivers are sober before driving out of ranks with passengers.

“We have also encouraged our drivers to do deliveries in the event that they reach their destinations late at night when it’s not safe to leave women and their children with luggage in the streets,” said Mlalazi.

Bonny Ndjishe, of the Mamelodi Amalgamated Taxi Association, said local patrollers were also checking the conditions of taxis. He said this was done as part of Operation Hlokomela, joined and endorsed by the SAPS.

“We are not compromising on safety and no driver will be allowed to get away with wrongdoing. We are tired of avoidable fatalities and we want the police working with us because we want them to make arrests,” he said.

Melitah Madiba, spokesperson for the Gauteng Roads and Transport Department, said there was a strong political will to curb fatalities on the roads.

She said Gauteng Roads and Transport MEC Dr Ismail Vadi, and his counterpart in the Department of Community Safety, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane, were also expected to speak to taxi drivers in Johannesburg this morning.

Meanwhile, the South African Weather Service has warned that there could be heavy rain in most parts of the country over this weekend.

The RTMC has urged road users to be extra cautious on slippery roads and follow safety tips to help reduce loss of lives during the festive period.

Executive Mayor Solly Msimanga last week launched the road safety campaign for the festive season and called for intensified police visibility, by-law enforcement and swift emergency services. “It is during this period where policing and emergency officials are needed to be on high alert 24/7.

“Each year the holiday spirit brings with it abnormal commuter volumes on our roads as holiday-makers make their way to their various destinations. However, due to reckless behaviour by some, we are forced to deal with fatalities that could have been avoided,” he said.

Pretoria News