By Kaya 959 News
The DA is calling for Gauteng MEC of Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko, to declare provincial traffic police an essential service. The party said with the high traffic volumes experienced in the province, the matter was of utmost importance.
The DA’s Michael Shackleton, said Mazibuko needs to prioritise Gauteng road users’ safety by seeking external intervention to speed up the process of resolving the ongoing labour dispute.
He said this is delaying the process of declaring the Gauteng traffic police an essential service.
“Gauteng motorists’ lives are in danger because the Gauteng traffic police does not operate 24 hours a day. In a province with such high traffic volumes, we require all police services to protect our motorists every minute of the day. This is not happening and we are concerned,” he said.
24- hour monitoring of Gauteng roads
Shackleton said in most instances, accidents and incidents of crime happen during the night and there is a need for 24- hour monitoring of Gauteng roads.
“The safety of Gauteng road users is at risk as there is no Gauteng traffic police monitoring the roads during the night. This is why we have consistently been demanding that the Gauteng Department of Community Safety declare the Gauteng Traffic Police an essential service to ensure 24-hour monitoring of Gauteng roads,” he explained.
“MEC Mazibuko was responding to my written questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature and indicated that there are ongoing discussions through monthly meetings between organised labour, the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) and Provincial Traffic Management with regards to the issue of declaring Gauteng traffic police an essential service,” he said.
Unions tabling grievances
He said the MEC stated that it is not possible to commit on any date as to when the discussions will be concluded.
“The Gauteng traffic police officers want their working conditions to be improved, however, unions representing workers are the ones who are still tabling their grievances as their representatives,” he said.
He added that while they understood that it was the responsibility of the unions to protect workers’ interests and improve their working conditions through salaries and benefit negotiations, it is high time that they reach an agreement with the RTMC and the Provincial Traffic Management for the benefit of their representatives and the Gauteng road users.
“Declaring Gauteng Traffic Police an essential service means that they will be able to provide 24-hour road safety services to the citizens of Gauteng. This will also benefit both the department and the officers by reducing the excessive expenditure on overtime, improving working conditions and increasing benefits for the traffic police,” he said.
Safety of Gauteng residents
Shackleton said the safety of motorists on Gauteng roads during the night should be a priority for all the parties involved in the labour dispute discussion.
“We are urging the MEC to seek external intervention in solving this issue as current monthly discussions have been ongoing for years and not yielding any positive results,” he said.
He added that the party will continue to apply pressure on the MEC.
“The safety of Gauteng’s residents is too important and therefore we will persist with our pressure,” he said.