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Clampdown on illegal taxis

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“More than anything, the objective of this service is to reduce road fatalities and accidents by ensuring vehicles used for public transportation are roadworthy.”

RELAUNCH: The MEC for Transport, Safety and Liaison, Lebogang Motlhaping, and Nkululeko Nqumoshe, the provincial deputy director of Traffic Law Enforcement, at the relaunch of the Public Transport Inspectorate yesterday. Picture: Soraya Crowie

THE NORTHERN Cape Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison is clamping down on illegal taxi operators in the Province.

The MEC for Transport, Safety and Liaison, Lebogang Motlhaping, yesterday relaunched the Public Transport Inspectorate (PTI) at the Indian Centre taxi rank in Kimberley following concerns from taxi operators and the public about the taxi industry not being properly regulated.

“The PTI will monitor and ensure compliance with the conditions of operating licences in terms of the National Land Transport Act (NLTA). We will address the proliferation of pirate and illegal public transporters that do not have the necessary permits,” Motlhaping said at the event.

“We need to create a transport sector with compliant operators, characterised by a respect for the law and regulations and one that operates in peace.

“More than anything, the objective of this service is to reduce road fatalities and accidents by ensuring vehicles used for public transportation are roadworthy.”

Motlhaping said the relaunch was aimed at improving and strengthening the taxi industry.

“The Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison is relaunching the Public Transport Inspectorate (PTI) due to pressing reasons.” According to Motlhaping, this includes preventing the duplication of traffic officers to do law enforcement, as well as ensuring compliance among public transport operators.

“This situation has placed severe strain on the operational capacity of our units and is taxing on our physical, human and financial resources. Section 85 of the National Land Transport Act (NLTA) gives the Member of the Executive Council the authority to take active steps to develop systems to improve land transport law enforcement.”

Motlhaping said the PTI unit would act in terms of the strictest regulations to ensure everyone adhered to the rules of the road.

“The PTI will have a zero tolerance with regard to pirate operators and will prosecute offenders where required. The unit will address issues of overloading and roadworthiness and do alcohol screening, speed measurements, roadblocks and road safety awareness campaigns at taxi ranks and in communities.

“We are seeing patterns of alcohol abuse by both drivers and pedestrians, operators who speed, moving violations, including cellphone use while driving, failure to wear seat belts and dangerous overtaking. We are seeing defective tyres and steering mechanisms and operators who are fatigued.

“All of these are factors that lead to accidents that can cost lives on our roads. We need to create a transport sector with compliant operators, characterised by a respect for the law and regulations and one that operates in peace.”

Motlhaping said that those who did not adhere to the law would face having their vehicles impounded.

“Drivers must avail their PDPs and their permits, which allows them the right to be on the route they are driving, as well as the number of passengers inside their vehicles during inspections and road operations. Those are some of the issues officials will focus on. Operators who do not adhere to these rules and those who are on the roads illegally, will have their vehicles impounded. It will be a huge inconvenience for taxi owners and commuters should operators not comply,” Mothaping concluded.