‘Road safety is a major priority to law enforcement agencies’

Hlulani Mashaba, Gauteng Department of Community Safety, writes:

The Gauteng Department of Community Safety, as the lead department in the implementation of road safety strategy in the province, remains committed to ensuring the safety of passengers and drivers on Gauteng roads.

The Gauteng Department of Community Safety has over the years and in recent times developed a safety strategy response plan as an instrument of integration and coordination of law enforcement initiatives as well as interventions.

While we are currently observing the heightened festive season, road safety continues to be a matter of grave concern to our government and country as a whole.

The sharp increase in the vehicular traffic on our roads especially those destined for long distance travelling, demand for an equivalent increase in the number of enforcement officers particularly in areas normally characterized by high frequency fatal road crashes or hazardous locations. During this period, many valuable lives are continuously lost as a result of road traffic accidents.

Motorists, particularly public transport operators, are called upon to exercise the necessary caution in making road safety a priority following an alarming road accidents reported in recent times. The rush to make profit gives rise to serious forms of dangerous driving such as reckless and negligent driving, disregard to traffic signals and passengers overloading among others.

The department recently lunched “Asifikeni” road safety campaign in the Maboneng precinct and it is a road safety awareness campaign aimed at changing driver, pedestrian behaviours and attitudes on the roads.

The MEC outlined the festive season road safety plan and key pillars of the campaign which include the theme song among others. The event was attended by representatives of various law enforcement agencies, non-governmental organisations that specialise in public transport, youth road safety forums and other sectors with interest in road safety.

The Department of Community Safety together with law enforcement agencies and through Gauteng Law Enforcement Agencies Forum (GLEAF) developed “Heightened Festive Awareness Campaign” on identified crime as well road safety hotspots.

Further to the above mentioned, the department said it would complement enforcement initiatives this festive season by the deploying community patrollers at identified public transport hub to provide help and support to the general travelling public.

The department is optimistic that with a safety response strategy in place, road fatalities as well as crime will be reduced to acceptable levels. We have already seen a decline in business robberies aimed at malls, notably Evaton Mall, the Boulders Mall etc where many planned robberies were foiled in recent times due to the joint operations by the law enforcement agencies.

The department will continue to raise awareness on road safety, profile Gauteng Law Enforcement operations in curbing road fatalities and addressing social, trio-crimes this festive season and beyond, raise awareness on law enforcement zero tolerance on all traffic violations and mobilise many voices to sustain the festive communication effort.

These kinds of initiatives will result in pedestrian and driver’s safety on high risk routes. It is important to always keep in check vehicle road worthiness and driver fitness as important components in reducing road safety. As Gauteng, we must wage a war against road fatalities during the festive season. We must also utilise our existing educational programmes to promote the plan.

It is also our duty to reach out to our public transport operators at taxi ranks to inform and educate passengers on the importance of staying safe during this festive season. The department has been very active on all social media platforms setting the agenda for general engagement and feedback on road safety.

Despite various road safety measures in place, South African roads continue to experience growing incidents of fatal crashes. The safety of our passengers within our public transport system remains a priority to Law Enforcement Agencies. We will ensure that our Law Enforcement Agencies work tirelessly to ensure the safety of passengers in Gauteng during this festive season and beyond.

We call upon the Law Enforcement Authorities to act decisively in dealing with those drivers who doesn’t comply with the rules of the road and appeal to road users to be vigilant, patient and to adhere to the rules of the road to save the lives of passengers.

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