Durban - Bus, taxi and truck owners who force drivers to travel in unroadworthy vehicles are "heartless monkeys" who will face the wrath of the law, KwaZulu-Natal transport MEC Bheki Cele warned on Tuesday.
He was addressing a crowd at the launch of the province's holiday season plan in Park Rynie on the south coast. "We find that drivers tell the owners about problems with the vehicles but the owners don't listen.
When the drivers say something, they are fired on the spot." He said such owners only wanted money and that at the end of the day, they were receiving "blood money". Unroadworthy vehicles should not be on the road at all, he said. "We look towards dealing with those heartless monkeys."
Cele and ANC provincial leader Zweli Mkhize inspected a bus that had been impounded. Its broken front windows had been taped together and the brakes and other parts of the bus were not in working order. Cele phoned the driver from his cellphone at the launch and asked why he had been driving a fully laden bus from the Eastern Cape to Durban. The driver told the MEC that he had reported the faults to his boss but that his boss did not care.
Cele warned that such bosses, whether they own taxis, buses or trucks, would face the wrath of the law this festive season. While the launch was underway, traffic police held a massive roadblock on the N2 freeway where three people were arrested earlier on Tuesday.
Cele said those arrested included a woman in possession of two bags full of dagga, a truck driver travelling at 124 kilometres per hour and a 21-year-old driving at 172 kilometres per hour.
"It's only Tuesday morning and we have also just caught two people drunk," he told the crowd. The MEC also spoke about female traffic officers and their duties.
He urged them to stop smiling at male motorists.
"I heard that when men drivers pull up at roadblocks and if they are attended by a female, they smile at the girls and the [female traffic officers] smile back...
I don't want no smiles," said Cele.