It seems as if no special precautions are taken in an effort to reduce road fatalities this Festive Season especially on the N1 between Polokwane and Modimolle besides a recent cleansing ceremony, the ordinary increase in visibility and a zero-tolerance attitude of traffic officials towards offenders.
The N1 in Limpopo claimed close to 100 lives in the past three months and Limpopo residents would have liked to see authorities take drastic action in reducing these statistics. Democratic Alliance Political Head for Tzaneen, Desiree Van Der Walt recently asked Transport Minister Blade Nzimande to provide statistics on road fatalities on the N1 from Polokwane to Bela-Bela for the 2017/2018 financial year. In his reply it is revealed that 102 fatal crashes resulted in 178 fatalities from 1 April 2017 to March this year. Since April this year a total of 134 people already lost their lives on the stretch of road.
Most fatal accidents occurred as a result of vehicles overturning, head-on collisions, pedestrians in the roadway and vehicles colliding with the rear of another.
During the Festive Season road safety media launch outside Polokwane on Monday, Transport and Community Safety MEC Makoma Makhurupetje was accompanied by her counterparts from Health, Phophi Ramathuba and Limpopo Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (Ledet), Seaparo Sekoati as well as Provincial Police Commissioner Nneke Ledwaba.
In her address she referred to two speedsters that were arrested on the N1 on the weekend and said it was proof of the zero-tolerance attitude towards offenders. A motorist driving a BMW at 192 km/h in a 120 km/h zone just outside Polokwane was arrested and detained at Westenburg Police Station on Saturday. A second motorist travelling at 214 km/h in a Chevrolet Lumina on the same road was detained at the same Police station. Both suspects were expected to appear in the Polokwane Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
Makhurupetje reiterated that law enforcement activities will include road safety activation, daily speed operations, daily road side checks, road blocks, moving violations, drunken driving operations, mobile vehicle testing, and visible patrol.
A total of 1 136 traffic officers, 32 road safety officers, 399 marked traffic vehicles, 29 road safety vehicles, five motor cycles, 10 moving violation recorder vehicles, five mobile vehicle testing stations and several ProLaser speed cameras would be used as resources.
From Maubane to Beitbridge on the N1, a traffic Police vehicle will be visible at least every 40 km. Ten high speed vehicles fitted with moving violation recorders will also be deployed.
“Our pledge is to ensure that everyone arrives alive to their various destinations. During the Festive Season, we also plan to monitor the operations of the public transport operators to ensure that no one loses their lives due to preventable feuds over routes.”
Ramathuba indicated that emergency services are geared and that 24 ambulances, ten rescue vehicles and 13 response vehicles will be stationed along major routes. She also inspected ambulances and confirmed that it is properly equipped for any emergency.
Sekoati expressed his gratitude to work together with other departments to keep tourists and visitors to the province safe. Ledwaba ensured motorists that the Police will be visible at strategic spots across the province to curb crime and to apprehend criminals.
Story: RC Myburgh