Police will be outin full force on major roads to curb high death toll and rampant crime

Mary Papayya

Mary Papayya

Traffic offenders in KwaZulu-Natal are warned that they will be dealt with severely and face on-the-spot arrests for breaking the rules of the road.

Intense and stringent enforcement measures in the province since the start of the holiday season has resulted in the arrest of nearly 500 drivers for drunk-driving.

So far this month, traffic officers have netted nearly 30000 motorists, with just over half bust for speeding.

Officials say the "no-nonsense" approach has helped curb the road death toll so far. Since December 1, 101 people had died on the province's roads compared to 166 deaths for the same period last year.

The province's road traffic inspectorate spokesman, Zinhle Mngomezulu, said about 600 traffic officials have been deployed throughout the province and more than 30 roadblocks stationed in peak traffic areas.

"Those caught speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol face stiff fines and imprisonment. Anybody breaking the law will be dealt with accordingly."

She said law enforcement agencies will target truck drivers and motorists who break the rules and drive under the influence of alcohol. All of the province's major freeways will be targeted.

According to Mngomezulu, there have been no convictions in the arrests so far as most of the cases are pending.

In one of the worst speeding cases recorded so far this season, a woman driver was caught driving at 205kmh on the N2 at Sezela on the south coast.

She appeared in court and has been released on R5000 bail.

In another incident, a taxi driver was arrested for clocking 146kmh on the same stretch of road. He was also released on R5000 bail.

Meanwhile, police in the province say they will be out in full force during the festive season.

Police spokesman Vincent Mdunge said their plan included a focus on serious and violent crimes, armed robberies and organised crimes such as cash-in-transit robberies, armed house robberies as well as mall robberies.

"We will also combat the circulation of illegal drugs and the use of illegal firearms.

"We have deployed an additional 10000 police officers as part of our strategic operations. The SAPS has teamed up with Metro police and the road traffic inspectorate to curb all levels of crime throughout the province."

The region will also adopt stringent measures to save lives at the province's beaches with the introduction of a 24-hour Surf Rescue Unit.

The unit, formed by Lifesaving South Africa, will deploy voluntary lifeguards along the coastline.

It is estimated that during the festive season an average of 20 to 30 people drown in KwaZulu-Natal.