Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, has assured motorists who disrespect the law that they’ve got an appointment with law enforcement officers, and could possibly end up in jail.
Mbalula said authorities are ready to take harsh steps against anyone driving an unroadworthy vehicle or driving drunk.
“We are going to occupy the hotspots and many other areas. As you can see here in Johannesburg, we have zero tolerance on drinking and driving, reckless driving, unroadworthy vehicles, all of those we’ve got an appointment with them,” Mbalula said.
He was speaking on Monday afternoon at the launch of the Festive Season Safety Campaign at the M2 Crown Interchange.
The minister said government is reviewing traffic laws to make them tougher and reminded South Africans that the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) would be introduced in June next year.
“They must understand that the state is ready to maintain law and order. We are reviewing our laws. Going forward as you would have seen, we are introducing AARTO next year in June, which is a demerit system. Over and above that, we want the law to bite for drunken driving. We find you drunk, we want you to spend time in prison,” he said.
On Monday several motorists were arrested on the spot, including one drunk driver whose breathalyzer reading was 0.92mg/l, over the legal limit of 0.24mg/l.
“This morning someone was arrested for drunken driving, right here. It tells you that people find it easy [to drink and drive] as they know that [when caught] they will pay a fine and probably get out,” Mbalula said.
Chief of Johannesburg Metropolitan Police, David Tembe, said road rage is a big problem in the country.
“Road rage is caused mainly by reckless and negligent driving. You will find you have been waiting and someone comes and drives in front of you and scratches your car. And when you come out [of your car] that’s when road rage comes in,” Tembe said.
He added: “We are going to arrest each and everyone who drives recklessly, who skips robots … inconsiderate drivers”.
Tembe said he is appointing about 30 officers who will use bicycles to patrol special events such as at Zoo Lake and other public parks.
Last year 1612 people died during the festive season, a figure that Mbalula said government wants to decrease by 10%.
Gauteng and the North West were the only provinces that recorded decreases in the number of road deaths.