The special road safety operation implemented in KwaZulu-Natal for the Vodacom Durban July horse race weekend has laid the foundation for continuous road safety law enforcement, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said on Sunday.
“We, as government, we want road safety to be maintained 24/7 – not only during Easter or Christmas. We want our police and law enforcement to be all out. We are giving you a taste of what is to come,” Mbalula told journalists at the Mariannhill Toll Plaza in Durban while giving feedback on the operation, called #LiveBeyondJuly.
The ministry was also confronting corruption in the transport industry head-on.
“[This will come] from all sides, [including] citizenry who bribe the police and in so doing are undermining the law. This leads to fatalities on our roads,” he said.
The “wellness” of police officers also had to be dealt with, which included training.
“Over and above that, we also need to deal with the question of how we use information technology in law enforcement on our roads to enable the police to maintain law and order and thereby decrease fatalities,” Mbalula said.
However, he was happy that there had been fewer road accidents over this year’s July event period than in some previous years. He saluted racegoers for their “good behaviour”, saying road safety was a two-way process.
“It is not only police maintaining order. It is about motorists also being responsible on the roads.”
Apart from “a few rotten potatoes”, It had been a magnificent weekend. But authorities would find those who undermined the law, he said.
South Africa’s biggest annual horse race took place on Saturday, with many out-of-town revellers expected to head home on Sunday and Monday. The event contributes about R300 million to the economy, according to the tourism ministry, and is attended by up to 50,000 people.
“We activated [the operation] for KZN using the hashtag #LiveBeyondJuly to ensure that we deal with lawlessness on our roads and the fact that people were coming here in their numbers,” Mbalula said.
The operation had seen the state “stamping its authority” on the policing of roads. A particular focus had been on drinking and driving, and people who ventured on to the roads in unroadworthy cars.
Mbalula said he was happy with the work done by law enforcement authorities over the weekend. Road traffic police at national, provincial and local level had worked “flat out” in preparation for the weekend, and would still be engaged in the operation on Monday, he said.
– African News Agency (ANA)