South Africa

All eyes on drunk drivers during this festive season, says Fikile Mbalula

With the easing of alcohol restrictions during level 1 lockdown, drunk drivers will be the main focus during the festive seasons as stringent law enforcement operations will be rolled out, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula announced.

Delivering his speech on road safety before the National Assembly on Tuesday, Mbalula emphasised that the use of alcohol and drugs remained a critical challenge in road fatalities.

Part of the strategy to curb this was to reduce the permissible alcohol intake to 0%, a Bill which is currently before Parliament which Mbalula said would undoubtedly be supported.

“The implementation of physical and mobile alcohol evidence centres will remain a prominent element of our law enforcement. A key strategic issue for multi-disciplinary includes the use of nurses to draw blood samples as part of the collaboration with the Department of Health.

“Furthermore, support from the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development is critical in the prosecution of offenders and achieving our objective of arresting the carnage on our roads,” he said.

The spate of truck attacks would receive great attention and traffic officers would be partnering with law enforcement operations by police, department of home affairs, department of labour to put an end to the “ill conduct”.

“We remain seriously concerned of the escalation of attacks on trucks on our roads. Lawlessness on our roads will not be tolerated. We will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that those who believe they have a right to destroy property and place the lives of others at risk meet the full might of the law. They will be charged with economic sabotage.”

But the roads would be more dangerous in the coming weeks than ever before, said DA MP Chris Hunsinger.

He said Mbalula did not seem to have a solid plan to curb the burning of trucks and the killing of truckers.

“We have witnessed how trucks have been petrol bombed and how truckers have been killed. There is no convincing plan to stop this senseless victimisation of the most essential in cargo and freight service transporters has yet surfaced.”

He said the party encouraged the recalling of the K53 driving licence system, which focused on a driver passing a test rather than learning to drive.

“It makes no sense to pass at 30km/h, be awarded a licence only to be allowed to drive at 120km/h moments later. Bus and taxi driving licences as well as truck drivers should be required to do an advanced driving skills training course with compulsory medic training without being allowed to carry passengers or any load,” Hunsinger said.

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