Transport Minister Blade Nzimande has appealed to motorist to be circumspect when using the roads during this long weekend.
“This weekend also comes during month end April and coincides with two of the most important holiday days in the history of South Africa since the advent of democracy – the Freedom Day and the workers day,” he said on Saturday.
Since the beginning of the long weekend, South Africa had seen an increase in the number of people travelling to various destinations, nationally and internationally.
He indicated that traffic law enforcement officers would conduct more roadblocks throughout the country, as had happened during the Easter weekend. This visibility was part of the department’s heightened 365 days road safety programme.
“Of particular interest, our law enforcement operations will target enforcement of legislation of wearing seatbelts, using cellphones while driving, unroadworthy vehicles, while they continue to clamp down on drunken driving, excessive speed, and other moving violations,” Nzimande said.
At the same time, Nzimande extended his heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the seven people who died when a Metrorail train collided with a bakkie at the Buttskop level crossing in Cape Town on Friday.
According to the preliminary investigations, a bakkie was following a minibus taxi on Frederick Road, parallel to the railway track approaching the Buttskop level crossing. As the train was approaching the crossing, the taxi drove across and the bakkie followed the taxi, but was unfortunately hit by the train, he said.
What was more distressing about this crash was that it happened on the day that South Africa was celebrating Freedom Day dedicated to former president Nelson Mandela, under the theme “the year of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela – towards full realisation of our freedom through radical socio-economic transformation,” said Nzimande.
He called upon the Rail Safety Regulator to ensure that it continued to work closely with railway operators to further its information sharing sessions on railway safety operational standard and the enforcement of railroad interface rules to ensure the safety of South Africans.
“This collaboration will also include working closely with provincial and local government to hold public railway safety campaigns. Road users are called upon to be circumspect when using our road or crossing the railway, as human error accounts for the majority of the crashes we have in South Africa,” Nzimande said.
– African News Agency (ANA)