The Free State province will on Tuesday next week mark the official launch of October Transport Month this year, with the opening of the newly-revamped N5 Traffic Control Centre in Senekal, Matwabeng.
The occasion will be graced by Police, Roads and Transport MEC Sam Malambule Mashinini.
October Transport Month is a programme centred on showcasing transport services and infrastructure development in all modes including aviation, maritime, public transport and roads.
Departmental spokesperson Hillary Mphete said the upgrade of the N5 traffic control centre was done in partnership with the South African Roads Agency (SANRAL).
She noted the road has been upgraded to help curb extensive overloading of vehicles, a phenomenon she blamed for the marked deterioration of the provincial road network.
The N5 Traffic Control Centre, which is based in Senekal, has also been upgraded to a more technologically advanced weighbridge. This involves identifying illegally loaded vehicles through weigh-in- motion equipment installed on the N5.
“Overloaded vehicles will then be diverted to be weighed on static scales at the Traffic Control Centre for mass certification and prosecution in cases of overloading,” explained Mphete.
The national department of transport will also be celebrating October Transport Month through various activities billed to take place around the country. These include the Integrated Transport Plans (ITP) summit to be held in the North West province, the Annual Rail Safety Conference, the official opening of road P415 in Kwazulu Natal, launch of the Maritime Strategy Port of Nqgura, AARTO workshop and roll-out in Kwazulu Natal, Transport Services in Public Transport in Limpopo province as well as rail safety awareness campaigns.
The Mthonjaneni bus depot in Gauteng will also be launched this month, while the Joint SA/China Committee World Maritime Day will be marked.
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula, fondly referred to as ‘Mr Fix It’, is expected to attend some of the events billed to take place this month.
Mbalula has in the past acknowledged South Africa’s trains are not safe at all and indicated his ministry is recruiting permanent security personnel for trains to focus on curbing general lawlessness.
He has promised stern action in ensuring public transport is safe and reliable.