Mpumalanga has one of the key road networks often overwhelmed during the festive season, starting with the N4 stretch between Middelburg and Komatipoort near the Mozambican border.
As a result, Mpumalanga MEC for Community Safety, Security and Liaison, Vusi Shongwe, has launched the 2023 Festive Season Road Safety Campaign with the hope of saving lives.
The campaign, which started on December 1, 2023, but was officially launched this weekend, has already seen more than 80,000 vehicles being stopped and checked.
“Law enforcement officers have so far stopped and checked over 83,000 vehicles in various operations across the province since the beginning of the month. Over 36,000 vehicles also went through various weighbridges. About 36 motorists were arrested for various offences committed, and this included the arrest of 27 suspects for drinking and driving. Seven more motorists were nabbed for excessive speeding. The alleged transgressors are expected to appear in various courts soon,” said the department’s spokesperson Moeti Mmusi.
As part of the campaign, more than 240 vehicles have been discontinued due to defects.
“Once the owners have rectified defects, they will be expected to retest their vehicles. Upon being certified as roadworthy, such vehicles will be put back on the road. The officers went on to impound about 465 vehicles. The impounded vehicles include overloaded trucks and light delivery vehicles.
“Once the owners and drivers of impounded vehicles correct their loads, they will be allowed to continue with their journeys. Over 12,000 motorists were also issued with summonses for various transgressions, which include disregarding the rules and defects on their vehicles,” Mmusi said.
According to Shongwe, traffic officers are crucial to ensuring safety on the road.
“Our law enforcement should continue working harder. They must rein in any lawlessness and disregard for road rules. We are also confident that our plans will bear fruits. We are content with the collaboration we have with other role players this holiday season. Our motorists and other road users must obey the rules. We must all play our part,” Shongwe said.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of the Border Management Authority (BMA), Dr. Mike Masiapata, is expected at the Lebombo border this coming Saturday for his first leg of deployment to intensify operations and facilitation of movement for this peak period of the festive season.
“The visit aims to showcase the BMA’s preparedness for facilitating and managing the legitimate movement of people and goods across our ports of entry and the border law enforcement areas. From the beginning of December, a number of senior members from the Border Technical Committee have been allocated various ports for their deployment and support to the operational teams on the ground.
“The BMA is coordinating operations at the ports with other law enforcement authorities such as South African Police Service (SAPS), South African Revenue Service (SARS) and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), traffic authorities, including border communities and all other relevant stakeholders with interest on border matters,” stated the BMA in a statement.
Travellers hoping to use the Lebombo border post have been reminded to present themselves at the designated ports of entry with the required and relevant documents.
The BMA is responsible for executing frontline border law enforcement functions related to immigration control, port health, access control, biosecurity, food safety and phyto-sanitary control, land border infrastructure development and maintenance.
It was officially launched on October 5, 2023, as the third law enforcement entity by President Cyril Ramaphosa in Musina, Limpopo.