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Booze bus on MEC's agenda

By unknown | Mar 16, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Mvuyo Mati

Mvuyo Mati

Eastern Cape roads and transport MEC, Thobile Mhlahlo, has put forward an ambitious programme for the 2007-08 financial year.

First in the MEC's line of fire will be drunken drivers.

Delivering his budget speech at the Bhisho legislature yesterday, Mhlahlo warned that he was about to buy a "booze bus to prosecute drunken drivers".

It would be used in blitzes against drunken driving.

The mobile "booze bus" would carry administration personnel and equipment to test motorists' alcohol levels.

Offenders would be detained in the bus before being taken to the nearest police station.

The bus would be parked in one area and then driven to other areas of the province to make sure that as many drunken drivers as possible are caught.

Mhlahlo said his department and the Labour Department were also cooperating in a move for taxi drivers to earn salaries and work eight-hour shifts.

He said this would bring economic security to the taxi drivers' families as well as stability to the public transport industry.

Mhlahlo also announced that R2million will be allocated to the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) in Eastern Cape.

The cash incentive, he said, was to be used for setting up Santaco offices in six districts, which would help to fast-track the taxi recapitalisation programme.

Because Port Elizabeth will host the 2010 World Cup in the province, and East London and Mthatha might be possible training bases for competing nations, it was imperative for transport and related industries to be improved.

For this reason his department, said Mhlahlo, had budgeted more than R2,6billion for the construction of roads in the province.

He said the much-anticipated Kei Rail Passenger Service would be launched in Butterworth on March 29.

For passengers travelling the more than 200km from East London to Mthatha on Fridays and Sundays, the fare would be R25.

In the current financial year the department would spend R27million on the Kei railway line, of which R6million would go to operating costs and R21million to track maintenance.

Mhlahlo said research was being conducted into the feasibility of launching a train tourism service in the Langkloof, Somerset East and Graaff-Reinet areas.

"All these projects could ultimately create job opportunities," said Mhlahlo.


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