Driver development programme will improve safety on our roads
Some of the key areas that appear to have posed a challenge amongst public
transport drivers, especially in the taxi industry as well as truck drivers,
include carelessness about the state of the vehicle, coupled with impudence and
disdain, poor customer care, and sheer disobedience.
A sum of R1,2 million has been set aside by Ndebele’s Transport Department
to develop these road service providers to be better drivers, safe, caring and
reliable servants of society, to the best of their abilities.
Mr Ndebele spoke strongly about his Department’s road safety majors when he
addressed mourners comprising parliamentarians, Amakhosi, counsellors,
schoolchildren from various schools, teachers, nurses, and the general public.
Mr Ndebele said: "When we asked the driver who was responsible for the
death of many people in a truck at Melmoth what the problem was, it appeared
that he had reported the problem with the vehicle’s brakes to his employer who
had not fixed the truck.
"That is why an agreement has been reached between farmers, the
Department of Agriculture and our Department that a truck driver development
programme be started in May. It has emerged that many of the drivers who work in
farms do not have licenses, despite their ability to drive and fix the tractors
– 65 percent is unlicensed, but capable and competent."
Mr Ndebele explained: "We are working closely with the Department of
Labour to issue formal and legal certificates that will recognise, acknowledge
and expose them to the open market. They cannot be forever marginalized. With
their certificates, they can actually start workshops to fix tractors and other
vehicles. It is ironic that because of the accident that claimed fourteen people
at Melmoth, new opportunities are opening up, and new engineering inventions are
coming out to help us deal with the challenge of road carnage," he
In his typical humanitarian style, Mr Ndebele has insisted that drivers in
the public service who did not have licenses or who had been driving illegally
would not be deprived of the chance to undergo the DOT-sponsored driver
development programme. But rather, they would be given a fair chance to become
He told mourners: "The driver training programme actually began a while
ago in Pietermaritzburg, Durban and Empangeni and this includes those who bought
their licences. The campaign has not stopped as we are now targeting Nquthu and
Mr Ndebele has explained repeatedly that not all taxi drivers are
irresponsible as there are good, honourable and reliable taxi drivers out there
who are prepared to obey the law and serve society properly.
Mr Ndebele has said over and over again that according to scientific
research, taxi drivers are not the ones who cause most of the accidents on our
roads. The problem here is that when taxis are involved in road carnage, a
greater number of people are affected in one incident. Hence, it looks like they
are number one cause of accidents on the road, which is untrue.
Sharing the stage with the Minister during the Children’s Memorial Service,
the chairperson of the KwaZulu Natal Taxi Council, Mr Mboniseni Ngiba, pointed
out that it was unfortunate that although 200 drivers were being trained in the
area of Mthonjaneni, some irresponsible element in the industry played a
dangerous game on the road which claimed the lives of innocent children and
Although Mr Ngiba said that the taxi industry needed to accept criticism, he
nevertheless stated that his council and the Department had not been aware of
the so-called chicken game in which drivers drove from one lane to
another. The drivers who claimed the lives of the children were driving from
different directions when they eventually collided as they approached each
other. Mr Ngiba called on taxi owners to assist the Department in monitoring
their vehicles on the road.