The Minister of Transport published a press release on 15 April stating the following:
The Minister of Transport, Ms Dipuo Peters, intends to take proactive regulatory initiative to introduce new regulations that restricts goods vehicles with a GVM exceeding 9000 kg from operating on the public road at certain times. This intention is in response to the increase in the number of road carnages that involves goods vehicles on the South African roads.
In terms of the intended new regulations to be introduced, no person shall operate on the public road a goods vehicle the gross vehicle mass of which exceeds 9000 kg between 17h00 to 20h00 Monday to Friday except weekends and public holidays, and between 06h00 to 09h00 Monday to Fridays except weekends and public holidays.
This provision shall not apply in case of emergencies, to the driver of a fire-fighting vehicle, a fire-fighting response vehicle, an emergency medical response vehicle, a rescue vehicle or an ambulance, who drives such vehicle in the performance of his or her duties, a traffic officer or a person appointed in terms of the South African Police Service Act, 1995 (Act No.68 of 1995), who drives a vehicle in the carrying out of his or her duties or any person driving a vehicle while responding to a disaster as contemplated in the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (Act No.57 of 2002).
These intended regulations will be published for public comments and discussions. Minister Peters, remains steadfast in ensuring that the South African roads remains safe and user friendly to all road users all the times.
Please note: NO draft regulations have been published for comment and NO communication has been forthcoming from the Department of Transport in this regard.
The Road Freight Association opposes such an intention by the Minister and has already commented on this ill-informed proposal by the Minister.
The proposed legislation to restrict freight vehicles in peak hours will NOT reduce road carnage but will merely create greater congestion, more chaos and pandemonium on our roads. It will now cost you more for a loaf of bread if you’re lucky enough to find a fresh loaf on the shelf at your local supermarket. And not to mention your veggies, meat, chicken, fish, butter, milk, which is already being impacted by the country wide load-shedding.
Picture laden trucks parked off on the sides and verges of roads from highways to upmarket suburban areas and a sudden tsunami of trucks as soon as the restriction is over jostling to markets to make up for lost hours.
Operators will now have to review loading and offloading times with customers and review how loads are going to be distributed around the country. This could very easily result in smaller vehicles being utilised which will just drive up the cost of logistics and motorists will have to contend with more freight vehicles on the road.
This legislation will not solve the real problem on the road which is the lack of enforcement and motorists not obeying the rules of the road. Sporadic testing of drivers by authorities will also not curtail the accidents.
The major truck accidents were caused as a result of operators that did not operate legally and professionally on our roads which would most probably have been prevented through proper law enforcement. In the incident in Pinetown, despite the driver’s illegal licence, it was clear that no compliance training had taken place and in the N12 incident, a basic pre-trip inspection had not been properly conducted and the truck had not been maintained. In the unfortunate accident with Minister Chabane, the owner of the vehicle was not a professional operator and the vehicle had not been licensed.
The Association urges the Minister to seriously reconsider such draconian measures which will be more damaging to the economy and will result in a poorer society. Minister, rather focus your resources on proper law enforcement, eradication of bribery and corruption and providing more officers on duty during the period of the proposed restriction.
Comment by: Gavin Kelly – Technical and Operations Manager: The Road Freight Association
About the RFA: First established in 1975, the Road Freight Association (RFA) is a membership-based organisation representing the interests of transport operators in the road freight industry. Our Vision is simply: “To be the Voice of the road freight industry” It is a facilitating body which influences the state of the industry, rates, upkeep of the road infrastructure, road safety, freight security, driver training, cross-border transport, development funding for emerging operators, education, health, the fuel price, law enforcement, labour relations and many other issues related to road freight transport. For more information, visit www.rfa.co.za