The KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Sipho Hlomuka, is calling on the drivers and owners of side tipper trucks to work with the government and the community of uPhongolo to save lives after they resumed traveling on the N2.
The resumption of operations follows a marathon of engagements between the National government, Provincial Government, Phongolo local municipality, traditional leaders, business owners and community organizations.
The opening of the N2 to side tipper trucks marks an end of more than two months of community revolt following a fatal truck crash that claimed 20 people in September 2022.
The truck driver is currently in custody to allow for further investigation. He is facing cases of culpable homicide and negligent driving.
After the incident, the community reacted by stoning and attacking side tipper trucks, which are mostly responsible for the transportation of coal. The majority of them are traveling from other provinces to the port of Richards Bay.
There has also been an outcry to the community of Zululand after the side tipper trucks were forced to use R66/R34 between eDumbe to eMpangeni, which is a provincial road not designed for such tons of loads.
Welcoming the resumption of operations, MEC Hlomuka said the government and stakeholders must move with speed in implementing all the agreed short-term measures.
“We welcome this decision by the community of oPhongolo. We will sharpen our daily monitoring of the movements of these trucks. The opening of the side tipper trucks is giving impetus to the efforts by the government to revive the economy. The lives of people are equally more important, hence, we appeal to the truck owners and drivers to adhere to traffic regulations and ensure that there is no further loss of lives. As a government we will continue working with all structures in oPhongolo, including the municipality and the traditional leadership to improve safety measures in the area. This includes implementing all the short term measures agreed to in stakeholder engagement meetings. Already the satellite Road Traffic Inspectorate office is operational and will be part of the integrated plans to maximize enforcement targeting heavy vehicles,” said Hlomuka.
Government will on a weekly basis be receiving reports on enforcement and on the behavior of truck drivers in the area. This will form a basis for engagement with the trucking industry to introduce norms in the drivers.
Equally, the government working with SANRAL is working on improving safety measures on the N2 in Phongolo and N3 Peter Brown.
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