News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Wednesday June 19th 2019

Killer busses: tougher laws sought ahead of World Cup

Siyabonga Kalipa

The recent furore over unsafe busses, combined with the prospect of foreign tourists needing to get around the country during the 2010 World Cup, has led the Department of Transport to seek tougher legislation in order to take bus companies that flout the laws, off the road.Western Cape Transport MEC Robin Carlisle has been strident in seeking tougher action on recalcitrant bus companies.

The move comes on the back of ongoing controversy involving unroadworthy busses,with eight SA Roadlink busses having been removed from the roads in the Western Cape recently.

At a media briefing Carlisle said his office had considered banning bus operators who consistently broke road traffic laws, but that this was outside the powers of provincial government.
Carlisle said bus operators who “consistently disregard the law and place human life at risk” should be banned, but an initial analysis of the National Land Transport Act indicated this was beyond the provincial government’s scope.
“Its trouble enough when these buses break the traffic laws when they transport our people, when it’s the soccer World Cup we can’t afford to have an accident where, lets say, a bus had about 50 foreign tourists.”

Spokesperson for the Department of Transport Logan Maistry said the department was aware of the lack of legislative power to “sort out” bus operators who broke the law.
Maistry said: “The minister is looking and reviewing the legislature in trying to see where the loopholes are and what can the department do about those loopholes. The minister will be meeting with all relevant people under the department from all over the country.”
However, Maistry said the department was not reviewing the legislature simply because of World Cup fears, but because “we want safety on our roads”.

In the meantime the Western Cape transport and community safety departments have announced four measures to combat road fatalities.

According to a joint statement by Carlisle and community safety MEC Lennit Max, enforcement officers will continue to suspend the operation of all vehicles found to be unroadworthy and a safety risk.
This will be backed up with criminal charges, with a successful prosecution resulting in an operator being liable to a fine or imprisonment not exceeding six years. Carlisle said discussions with the provincial NPA to facilitate the process had already begun.

By the end of February facilities and staff would be in place to effect a 24/7 inspection of all transport entering and leaving the province on the N1 at the Beaufort West weigh-bridge and on the N2 at the Swellendam weigh-bridge.
Section 50 of the National Road Traffic Act will be used to document and investigate all serious and repeat transgressions. These will be made available to the Provincial Operating Licencing Board (POLB) so operating licences cannot be issued to serial transgressors.

Max said: “Let it be clear that bus operators who allow unsafe buses or drunk drivers to put public safety at risk are in our sightlines and their days are truly numbered.”

SA Roadlink CEO Allan Reddy, who met with the two MEC’s prior to the press briefing, claimed that his company was being victimised.
“There is a total misconception by the media because it is not just our buses that are found to be unroadworthy, and our buses go through a routine check before they go out on a trip.”
He said the company was willing to work with the provincial government.

Tags: 2010 World Cup, Allan Reddy, killer busses, Lennit Max, road safety, Robin Carlisle, SA Roadlink, Transport Department

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