Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula’s “no nonsense” approach to curbing road carnage led to Limpopo traffic police issuing more than 1,000 traffic fines to motorists at the weekend.
On Friday, transport MEC Dickson Masemola and Mbalula launched Operation Tshwara Tsotsi (meaning arrest criminals) in Polokwane. This followed the deaths of 45 people in road accidents in the province recently.
The department said the operation cracked down on motorists who disobeyed traffic rules, drove under the influence of alcohol or without valid driver’s licences, drove in unroadworthy vehicles or cars with road licences that had expired.
Limpopo police spokesperson Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said a total of 1,001 traffic fines were issued and eight shebeens closed.
Five cars, five computers, 27 knives, 10 firearms, televisions, cellphones and illegal drugs were confiscated.
According to Ngoepe, the weekend operation was carried out by South African Police Service units including crime intelligence, crime prevention, the detective unit, public order police, the K9 unit, the traffic response unit and tactical response teams.
He said 866 suspects aged between 19 and 51 were arrested for various offences and would appear in magistrates’ courts soon.
Mbalula told more than 6,000 mourners at the mass funeral in Ga-Rapitsi outside Kgapane at the weekend for the 24 victims of the deadly Maphalle accident that the escalating deaths on SA roads was caused by “moving coffins”.
“Most vehicles have worn-out tyres and no brake pads. Some have expired documents. They are like ticking time-bombs waiting to explode,” he said.
Mbalula also took a swipe at traffic officers who took bribes from defaulting motorists.
“Some take up to R1,500, depending on the gravity of the case.
“We want to tell all those corrupt officers that every dog has its day. We will arrest them and send them to jail,” he said.