Cops out in force to stop the buses

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

KwaZulu-Natal transport MEC Bheki Cele has ordered traffic cops to immediately impound SA Roadlink buses that ignore tonight's midnight ban not to operate on the province's roads.

"The traffic officers are ready to take on SA Roadlink buses when they are spotted operating on the province's roads," transport spokesman Nonkululeko Mbatha confirmed yesterday.

She said the luxury bus company - which the MEC dubbed "a slaughter machine on wheels" - was not taking the ban seriously.

It was still accepting bookings from passengers .

"We are aware that the company management has been trying to push for an urgent meeting with Cele but that is not going to change anything now.

"If they do not comply, they will face the music. The only thing they can do is to comply."

Mbatha said the number of traffic personnel was beefed up to implement Cele's decision.

"It's not a threat. The bus company should comply. Passengers will be off-loaded from the buses and the company should be responsible for them," she said.

"The MEC's decision stands."

The department revoked the company's operating licence after 11 people were killed and 18 were injured when one of their buses veered into an oncoming motor on the South Coast this week.

It was reported yesterday that Cele had criticised the "troublesome" Roadlink company at a media briefing on Wednesday.

He said all the permits granted to the company have been withdrawn pending the outcome of an investigation into Tuesday's accident.

"From midnight on Friday, SA Roadlink may not operate on any route in the province until the finalisation of the investigation into whether its buses are safe," Cele said.

"Any Roadlink bus that is found on our roads will immediately be impounded and its driver will be arrested come midnight on Friday. We cannot keep quiet and fold our arms when our people are being slaughtered by public transport operators," he said.

The company operates 10 trips a week, carrying about 74 passengers each, between Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.