“We will patrol with a zero-tolerance for lawlessness – the only approach to ensure that we leave no margins for error, no space for leniency and no room for complacency.”
THE NORTHERN Cape Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison will intensify its road safety campaigns with a “robust action plan” for the Easter long weekend, from April 1 to 5.
Launching the campaign at the N12 weighbridge in Kimberley on Tuesday afternoon, MEC Nomandla Bloem highlighted that the Easter period normally yields congestion on the roads due to the closure of schools and people moving to holiday destinations or returning to their hometowns.
According to Bloem, the Province might experience a decrease in the number of travellers on the roads this year due to the current lockdown regulations.
During the 2020 Easter holidays the Northern Cape only registered two road fatalities, with open and free travelling prohibited except for essential services.
On the other hand, Bloem said, there may be heightened road congestion this year as people take advantage of the relaxed Level 1 travel restrictions.
“Be that as it may, we shall be prepared for any eventuality with due vigour and responsiveness,” said Bloem.
She highlighted the “sad reality” that many road users tend to “misbehave” over festive periods by driving under the influence of alcohol
Other forms of reckless driving and incidents of road rage also often increase during this time.
”This usually results in preventable accidents and the loss of innocent lives,” said Bloem.
“The Northern Cape provincial government views the mobilisation of our law enforcement officers for deployment during festive periods like Easter as key to the promotion of safety on our roads and thus the prevention of injury and the preservation of lives.
“This is evident in our continued commitment towards road safety and a sustained hard-line against law breakers on the road.
“Our operational plan demands all law enforcement officers, as well as our stakeholders on the roads, to maximise visibility and ultimately reduce fatalities on the routes we have identified.
“As always, we will patrol with a zero-tolerance for lawlessness – the only approach to ensure that we leave no margins for error, no space for leniency and no room for complacency.
“Each year, we draw up our operational plan to take due notice of research and trends over the past few years, to inform us of where exactly we need to sharpen our attention and where we are facing challenges.
“As indicated, we focus not only on the safety of drivers and passengers, but also on the vehicles themselves, pedestrians and other issues, such as stray animals, and meticulously monitor emerging road use trends to inform future operations.”
Bloem said that the main factor contributing to road accidents and fatalities is human behaviour.
“I must at this point appeal to members of our communities to work with us in respecting the rules of the road, as well as to be responsible, sober, rested and vigilant drivers,” she requested.
The MEC said that the operational focus will be on tactical roadblocks, checking the roadworthiness of public transport vehicles, stop and checks, fatigue management campaigns and road safety awareness and education at taxi ranks.
Operations will be intensified and also target certain days of the week and certain times of the day.
For the purposes of the 2021 operational plan, Bloem said the focus will mostly be on hot-spot routes.
Among the prioritised routes are:
The R31 between Hotazel, Kuruman, Danielskuil, Barkly West and Kimberley;
the N18 between Warrenton, Jan Kempdorp, Hartswater and Taung;
the N12 between Christiana, Warrenton, Kimberley and Modderrivier;
the N14 between Vryburg, Kuruman, Kathu, Olifantshoek, Upington, Kakamas and Springbok;
the N8 between Groblershoop, Kimberley and Bloemfontein;
the R385 between Olifantshoek, Postmasburg and Danielskuil;
the N9 between Upington, Groblershoop, Britstown, and De Aar-Hanover;
the N1 between Bloemfontein, Colesberg, Richmond, Beaufort West;
and the N7 between Kamieskroon, Springbok and Steinkopf.