An ongoing dispute between organised labour, the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) and Provincial Traffic Management with regards to the issue of declaring Gauteng Traffic Police an essential service is “putting lives in danger.”
That is according to the Democratic Alliance (DA) on Monday.
“Gauteng motorists’ lives are in danger because the Gauteng Traffic Police does not operate 24 hours a day,” the party said in a statement.
“In a province with such high traffic volumes, we require all police services to protect our motorists every minute of the day. This is not happening, and the endangerment of lives concerns the DA greatly.”
In most instances, accidents and incidents of crime happens during the night and there is a need for 24- hour monitoring of Gauteng roads. The safety of Gauteng road users is at risk as there is no Gauteng Traffic Police monitoring the roads during the night.
The party has since written to MEC for Community safety Faith Mazibuko requesting her to prioritise Gauteng road users’ safety by seeking external intervention in order to speed up the process of resolving the dispute.
Responding to the letter Mazibuko said that it is not possible to commit on any date as to when the discussions will be concluded.
The Gauteng Traffic Police officers wants their working conditions to be improved, however, unions representing workers are the ones who are still tabling their grievances as their representatives.
The party has also made pleas with the unions to work towards a consensus with all stakeholders involved.
“While we understand that it is the unions’ responsibility to protect workers’ interests and improve their working conditions through salaries and benefit negotiations, it is high time that they reach an agreement with the RTMC and the Provincial Traffic Management for the benefit of their representatives and the Gauteng road users,” said DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Community Safety Michael Shackleton.
He said that declaring Gauteng Traffic Police an essential service means that they will be able to provide 24-hour road safety services to the citizens of Gauteng.
“This will also benefit both the department and the officers by reducing the excessive expenditure on overtime, improve working conditions and increase benefits for the traffic police,” said Shackleton.
He said that the safety of motorists on roads during the night should be a priority for all the parties involved in the labour dispute discussion.