The Eastern Cape must clamp down on unroadworthy vehicles that are making use of the province’s roads, as these vehicles place the lives of their occupants and those of other road users at risk.
This Sunday, 17 November 2019, as we remember the lives lost in road accidents as part of the World Remembrance Day for road traffic victims, the Democratic Alliance is calling on the MEC for Transport, Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe, to take action against these unroadworthy vehicles.
These vehicles need to be identified, their owners fined, and the vehicles impounded so that they can no longer be driven on our roads. In doing so, this will drastically improve on road safety.
Some of these unroadworthy vehicles are used for public transport, and are driven into the ground, with owners not giving any consideration to maintenance, preferring profit over safety of their passengers.
A two-pronged approach needs to be taken to deal with these unroadworthy public transport vehicles, with a roll out of an awareness campaign on the voluntary Taxi Recapitalisation Programme, and a clamp down on the unroadworthy vehicles.
The Recapitalisation Programme, driven by the National Department of Transport, recently increased the scrapping allowance from R91,100 to R124,000 per vehicle.
Despite this, many taxi operators prefer to keep their old unroadworthy vehicles on the road, as they have been paid off and are therefore more profitable. Purchasing a new vehicle comes with an extra monthly debt cost, driving profits down.
It is therefore imperative that, where a vehicle is not fit to be on the road, it is removed by law enforcement. The safety of our road users must be our first priority.
The MEC must also prioritise the rollout of 24-hour traffic law enforcement to bring law and order back to the province’s roads. We have seen that the standard road safety programmes have failed to be effective.
There needs to be a drastic change in the attitude of drivers and all road users. The sudden hype around road safety over the festive seasons does not address the problems faced on our roads.
A culture of respect for the law, and obedience of the law, will only start to development if those laws are applied consistently.
The DA would also like to take this opportunity to extend our condolences to the families who have lost loved ones on the Eastern Cape roads this past year.
Marshall von Buchenroder
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