Transport Minister Blade Nzimande has called on motorists to stop bribing traffic officers and obey the road regulations.
He also called on traffic officers not to ask for bribes from motorists.
Minister Nzimande was speaking in Modimolle, Limpopo at the launch of the Festive Season Road Safety campaign on Sunday.
Nzimande called on motorists and the general public to respect traffic officers, adding that they are here to save lives.
“Some of our traffic officers are killed by motorists who refuse to stop or to be arrested for breaking the law,” Nzimande said.
He also called on traffic officers to be merciless on those who break or disregard the law.
According to Nzimande, some of the road accidents are caused by old cars. “We don’t want old cars on our roads, these old cars are killing our people,” he said.
Minister Nzimande used the occasion to encourage road accident victims to visit their nearest Road Accident offices to lodge or enquire about their claims.
Since the festive season is approaching, Minister Nzimande called on motorists who will be driving long distances to rest every two hours.
“As government we are trying to make our roads safer,” Nzimande said.
With regard to traffic fines, Nzimande urged motorists to pay their fines as government needs the money to improve the roads.
Prior to the launch, Minister Nzimande accompanied by Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha visited a roadblock on the N1 between Kranskop and Modimolle manned jointly by the Gauteng and Limpopo traffic officials.
The two accompanied by officials from the national and provincial governments laid wreaths alongside the N1 freeway in remembrance of all those who died in road accidents.
At the roadblock, the officers stopped and searched vehicles, and asked motorists to produce their valid drivers’ licences.
Failure to produce valid drivers’ licences, the motorists were issued with fines while some of the unroadworthy vehicles were impounded.
The officers stopped and searched private vehicles, minibus taxis and trucks.
According to the traffic officials at the roadblock, the N1 freeway has recorded the most fatal accidents last month where 27 people lost their lives when a truck plunged into vehicles.
The N1 links Gauteng and Limpopo and is also used as the gateway to the neighbouring countries.
Limpopo Premier in his remarks expressed concern about the high number of fatalities occurring on the N1 freeway.
“These accidents are caused by people and they can be prevented if people obey and follow the rules,” he said.
Mathabatha called on motorists to obey the rules. “Most of the accidents are caused by people who disregard the law.”
Traffic officers at the roadblock arrested a motorist who was driving at 260km/h. The motorist is behind bars in Modimolle.
Some of the motorists appreciated the presence of traffic officers on the road, saying this will reduce fatalities on the country’s roads.
One of the motorists, Wayne Mkhavhuli, who was heading to Gauteng told SAnews that he appreciated the presence of traffic officers on the road, adding that they should not only be visible during the festive season, but throughout the year.
“If the law enforcement officers do their work seriously, they will be less accidents on our roads, lives will be saved,” he said.
Echoing the same sentiments was Gerson Mathebula, who was heading towards Limpopo, told SAnews that there should be more traffic officers on the road.
“Traffic officers must be on all the national roads and it should be a daily thing,” Mathebula said.
At the launch, the Minister and the Limpopo Premier handed over wheelchairs to the road accident victims.
Sandile Mkhelelwa, one of those who received a wheelchair, told SAnews that he is happy as the wheelchair is going to make it easier for him to move around.
Mkhelelwa was injured when a taxi they were travelling collided with another vehicle after one of its tyres burst. He is now wheelchair bound. “I thank the government for providing me with this wheelchair,” he said.