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Celebrating National Disability Rights Awareness Month

November 3 was the official launch of Disability Rights Awareness Month in South Africa. The national launch took place in eThekwini in partnership with, among others, the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government and eThekwini Metro. With the focus for the launch falling on affirming the rights of young persons with intellectual disabilities, the programme focused on two organisations whose mandate is to promote, protect and uphold the rights of persons with intellectual disabilities, i.e. the Durban Coastal and Mental Health (DCMH) and Special Olympics.





EThekwini Municipality ended October Transport Month, on a high note by conducting spot heavy vehicle inspections on the busy M7 freight corridor on 31 October. This is one of many planned operations to promote road safety in the City on an ongoing basis.

The joint hour-long operation, on both the M7 east and west bound, was conducted by Metro Police officers, the Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) and officials from the eThekwini Transport Authority (ETA). The successful operation saw the suspension of 10 articulated trucks and 55 normal prosecutions for a range of offences including worn tyres, unlicensed drivers and vehicles and defective windscreen wipers. Three of the trucks did not have working braking systems and had to be towed to a safe place. A number of private vehicles were also pulled over to inspect their roadworthiness during the operation.

Logan Moodley, Deputy Head of the ETA, said with the suspension of the trucks, their licence discs and operator cards were removed. They would have to reregister the vehicle as well as undergo a certificate of roadworthiness test.

“This is a time consuming process for business owners. Also a licence for a heavy duty truck costs between R8 000 to R12 000. The suspension affects the productivity of the company. We want to show truck owners that we mean business about ensuring their vehicles are roadworthy. It was a job well done today,” Moodley said.

EThekwini Deputy Mayor Fawzia Peer attended the operation and praised the efforts of officers and officials.

“Today is the last day of Transport Month so it is appropriate for this operation to be held. I am glad that this operation encourages road safety and encourages road awareness.”

She said truck owners needed to be held liable if their vehicles were not roadworthy.

“I have seen some of the defects of the trucks and it is shocking. The safety of all drivers is affected and could result in innocent people losing their lives. While heavy duty vehicles play an important role in logistics and the transporting of goods, safety must be prioritised,” Councillor Peer said.

She requested that monthly updates on the number of vehicles pulled over and checked and the names those fined be submitted to her as Chairperson of the Security and Emergency Services Committee. Furthermore she said a proposal to establish a specialised task team of Metro Police officers to carry out these operations be submitted. The team will receive special training to further carry out these duties.

Daniel Harillal, also from the ETA, said the operation was conducted on the M7 freight corridor both east and west bound as it is the busiest fright corridor.

“This is not the end of our enforcement operations. It is ongoing and will be spreading to other freight corridors. Our focus is on heavy duty vehicles. We have a strategic partnership with Metro Police, RTI and the South African National Roads Agency Limited for these operations,” he said.




A new era for public transport: taxi incentives programme launch

In an innovative and bold move to support mini-bus taxi operators, associations and regional taxi leadership improve their business, operations and services to commuters, the eThekwini Municipality launched Moja Cruise – its Taxi Incentives Programme (October 30).

Celebrating the role of the mini-bus taxi industry in the delivery of public transport in South Africa through the decades, pioneered out of sheer necessity during the years of apartheid, the Mayor, Cllr Zandile Gumede, invited representatives of the taxi leadership, to become involved in this new programme. “You have played a very important historical role in public transport. We acknowledge this and thank you, and we invite you to continue to do so with us, within an improved system for the City.”

“As we usher in a new era for public transport, we assure you that as government, we are walking side-by-side with you in creating solutions to the challenges that you face,” she said to the gathering of about 550 people including representatives of mini-bus taxi industry, politicians and City officials.

“We have and will continue to engage with the leadership of the industry, to develop a way in which operations can be improved and eventually incorporated within the new system.”

Cllr Gumede explained that as the growing needs for cities across the globe to become more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable in line with the United Nation’s New Urban Agenda, the eThekwini Municipality, will be rolling out GO!Durban, its long-term public transport plan, which includes the current public transport operators.

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Mr Mxolisi Kaunda has given provincial government’s support for the programme.

As a building block towards the new system, Moja Cruise has been created as a voluntary programme, which will begin as a pilot or test case in about four to to eight weeks time, with an expected 500 taxis initially enrolled. These taxis will be branded and easily identifiable as participants within the programme, and will include taxis from all Associations within the eThekwini Municipality. The successes and challenges of this pilot will help inform the future roll out of the programme throughout the Municipality.

Devised to improve operators’ businesses through better services to the commuters, and drivers rewarded for excellence, Moja Cruise will focus on providing an efficient, friendly and safe experience for customers.

The launch revealed some of the details of the programme, which will track vehicles and obtain feedback from the various structures like rank marshalls, associations and state-of-the-art tracking systems. Eventually commuters will be asked to rate their experiences. This will all feed into a system, which rewards the drivers and operators for excellence on a monthly basis.

Going forward, the City plans to develop public-private partnerships to support a bigger rewards programme which will help add value to the business operations of the taxis such as discounts on tyres, services and insurance, amongst others.

Preparations are in place to brief the industry ahead of the implementation of the programme towards the end of the year.