BETTER safe than dead or injured is the message of the KwaZulu-Natal department of transport to passengers who were left stranded when a number of long-distance buses were impounded.
Department spokesperson Bhekisisa Mncube yesterday said their main concern was the safety of passengers.
He said stranded commuters were not the department's concern.
"We are concerned with seeing passengers alive," he said.
Mncube said Operation Phez' kwabo, which started on April 7, has resulted in 11 SA Roadlink buses being impounded for mechanical faults and a lack of safety inspection paperwork.
"Transport providers are aware of regulations that compel them to provide alternative means of travel for their customers," Mncube said.
SA Roadlink's Lumka Oliphant said the company was operating smoothly and did not know the whereabouts of the impounded buses.
Phez' kwabo head of operations Sbu Sithole said the impounded SA Roadlink vehicles were at the eMkhondeni testing grounds in Pietermaritzburg. He said the owners would appear in court on May 7.
Sithole said the fate of the impounded buses would be decided by the court.
"We appeal to the public and bus drivers to make use of the free hotline to report unroadworthy vehicles," he said.
"If more vehicles are impounded I will travel by train to Johannesburg to buy stock," said hawker Mfanelo Ngubane.