A clampdown on at least eight buses, five of which are used for transporting learners and the impoundment of a brick carrying truck overloaded by more than 15 tons since last Thursday comes with a strong warning that provincial traffic officials will no longer tolerate traffic offenders. Keeping in mind the horrific accident just outside Bronkhorstspruit in which 20 learners died on Friday, the time for traffic officials to focus on public transport and overloaded heavy vehicles could not have come sooner, according to a source.
“To avoid such terrible accidents on Limpopo’s roads the traffic officials as well as the Department of Education should step up and take action. Our children’s lives as well as those of innocent motorists are at stake,” the source said.
Provincial traffic officials impounded five buses used for scholar transport in terms of Department of Education tenders in the Moletjie area, outside Polokwane during a routine roadblock last Thursday.
The buses had been pulled over on the Mogwadi road to Moletjie when traffic officials discovered fraudulent licence discs being displayed and no operating permits available. Provincial Inspector Mmowa Kekana explained that officials noticed that two of the buses had the same Vehicle Identification Number printed on the respective licence discs. “The discs also indicated that the registration only expires next year but according to the system it already expired in February this year,” Kekana said.
Department of Education Communications Manager Naledzani Rasila explained that when the department needs transport services tenders are advertised. “Those who apply do so on the basis that they have such vehicle and such vehicle is roadworthy and complying with rules of the public roads as determined by the relevant authority at transport issues mandated institution/department. This will be the department that runs roadworthiness of all vehicles on public roads. Surely if they find any type of transport not complying, irrespective of what it carries, they will take steps. Which is correct. They do not go to road and wait only for transport carrying learners. Perhaps your relevant question should be about what we will do when buses are impounded and the answer is that we will be concerned only if the service provider do not make sure our learners continue to be transported. That is where we will come in and deal with service provider,” Rasila said. He added that the matter was receiving attention from the department.
Meanwhile traffic officials also impounded a 22-seater bus working without an operating permit as well as three buses of which two were operating on the wrong route and one without an operating permit, on Friday. A truck carrying bricks was also confiscated and the driver arrested after the vehicle weighed in at 71 400 kg, more than 15 tons of its carrying capacity, at the Zebediela Traffic Control Centre.
Kekana said the bus drivers were each issued a fine of R1 500 as well as a R20 000 summons for the impounded vehicles.
Story & photos: RC Myburgh