With the holiday season not in full swing a roadblock which formed part of the Safer Festive Season operations on the N1 outside the city on Monday delivered disturbing evidence of the dangers already lurking on the roads.
Highlighted as some of the biggest contributing factors of road fatalities annually, overloading, non-roadworthy vehicles and driving under the influence of alcohol once again presented themselves during the roadblock.
Municipal and provincial traffic officials as well as members of the Police went about the task of setting up the roadblock on the N1 South from early morning. Transport and Community Safety MEC Dickson Masemola later joined members to interact with motorists as those travelling towards the city were stopped and their vehicles checked.
A mobile brake testing station was also set up and numerous minibuses and other vehicles’ braking systems tested. A minibus with overloaded trailer was one of the first to be discontinued. To worsen matters the trailer’s connection to the minibus was not fully functional and fastened with rope. Further inspection revealed almost all the occupants, mostly mothers and babies, were in the country illegally.
Besides defects on braking systems; expired vehicle licenses, driver’s licences, worn tyres and illegally fitted lights were among the most common offences noticed. One driver was made to remove an LED light bar fitted to his bakkie on the spot. It was emphasised by a traffic official on the scene that the light bars were illegal and the use thereof could lead to the driver being fined or the vehicle impounded.
During another incident a driver was immediately arrested when tested and found to be over the permissible alcohol level. An officer expressed his concern at the fact that motorists were being caught driving under the influence of alcohol just past 06:00 in the morning.
Departmental spokesperson Joel Seabi indicated that seven vehicles were discontinued during the road block and ten drivers arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol since the previous night.
Masemola and other stakeholders later on gathered at the rugby fields between the two stadiums where the Safer Festive Season operations were officially launched.
Masemola emphasised law enforcers’ readiness for the Festive Season and warned that offences on or off the roads would not be tolerated.
The programme also included the permanent employment of 236 traffic graduates who will be deployed across the province during the holiday season.
Story/photos: RC Myburgh