Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) officers will be out in full force over the Easter weekend in a bid to put the skids on fatalities and injuries on the city’s roads.
Johannesburg Executive Mayor Cllr Herman Mashaba and Member of the Mayoral Committee for Public Safety Cllr Michael Sun officially launched the Easter Road Safety Awareness Campaign on the N1 freeway in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg, on Tuesday April 4.
Easter is a critical period that presents many safety challenges for law enforcement agencies. This time last year, 12 000 accidents and 112 fatalities were recorded in Johannesburg alone.
MMC Sun said the City was determined to drastically reduce these figures. “One life lost is one life too many. Schools are closed and many Joburgers will be travelling to various destinations across the country. We’re ready to do whatever is necessary to ensure there are fewer fatalities on the road.”
He said issues that contributed to the high accident rate included bad driving and unroadworthy vehicles. He said JMPD officers would heighten high visibility during this period to ensure that motorists and pedestrians were safe.
“It’s important that the general public and motorists obey the rules of the road at all times. Speeding is just not acceptable, especially in wet conditions, and so is driving without wearing a safety belt,” said Sun.
Speaking to JMPD officers, Mayor Mashaba said one of the City’s priorities was to ensure officers were properly equipped to do their work to the best of their ability.
“We’re serious about this. It’s not something we just talk about. We need to ensure that our society is protected. We don’t just say it. We’re investing heavily in ensuring that our law enforcement officers are properly equipped.”
He said JMPD had the responsibility to protect residents. “You’re the men and women who serve our city and country. You work under difficult circumstances. Criminals have no respect for the laws of our country. As a result, they end up putting the lives of our officers in danger,” said Mashaba.
He said the work that officers put in was not in vain and urged them to continue to serve residents with pride.
“Public safety is a priority. That’s why the City is going to be bringing in additional officers,” he said.
The Mayor urged JMPD officers to go out into the streets, be vigilant, look out for one another, ensure residents abided by the rules of the road and make them understand that roadblocks were for their benefit.
“Let’s make sure that our roadblocks are strategic and not cause traffic congestion,” he said.