The National Assembly has voted against the establishment of an ad hoc committee to investigate if ministers or state institutions were involved in the Phala Phala matter.
One hundred and ninety-nine Members of Parliament voted against the establishment of the ad-hoc committee, while 126 MPs voted in favour. The DA, which brought the motion for the ad-hoc committee, said they wanted it to investigate if ministers or state institutions were involved in the Phala Phala matter.
The ANC rejected the motion. The DA slammed ANC MPs for voting against the motion.
“It is deeply disappointing that the ANC has once again used its numbers in Parliament to block accountability and prevent the house from establishing an ad hoc committee that would investigate ministers, state institutions,” says DA Chief Whip Siviwe Gwarube.
Impact of trucks on roads
The National Assembly also discussed the negative impact of heavy-duty trucks on the safety of commuters on the roads. MPs sent condolences the families of 20 people killed in a road crash in uPhongolo, KwaZulu-Natal, two weeks ago.
Lawrence McDonald of the ANC said the loss of the school children is a tragic event that should be prevented in future. All stakeholders, including owners of trucking companies, he said, should adhere to safety measures. He said while the trucking industry is important to the country, its importance should be accompanied by obedience of the rules.
“This has inflicted huge pain and tragedy in the lives of the people of Pongolo. One mother lost three of her children due to this accident. At the outset of this debate it is of critical importance to highlight that the ANC strives to be a caring government. A caring government such as the ANC must never ignore the loss of innocent lives through reckless driving and the continuing menacing presence of heavy duty trucks on our roads. Our government sends its sympathy and condolences to all colleagues and friends and family of all those affected by the tragic loss of life in this particular accident and all road accidents,” says McDonald.
Chris Hunsinger of the DA says urgent intervention is required as current road safety measures are inefficient. He says road safety can be achieved immediately by adopting a number of safety measures he says are being ignored by the minister and the department.
“I have reported the number of instances a number of vehicles, especially trucks receiving roadworthy updates while being far from the roadworthy centre based on the information I have received. As long as this is treated a unique isolated incident rather than an opportunity to improve a system not much will change,” says Hunsinger.
The exploitation of foreign truck drivers by local companies was also highlighted. Members said in many cases the employers prefer to use them because they only pay them according to the loads they deliver.
This leads to them driving while tired in order to make their deliveries.
Nontando Nolutshungu of the EFF said the government failure to maintain the rail network means trucks will be depended on for a long time.
“The SA rail system has collapsed and the ANC government cannot shift the blame of the rail infrastructure vandalism to anyone but themselves. What did they think when they removed security that was looking after the rail infrastructure? Heavily loaded freight trucks are a permanent feature on SA roads. Yet local roads are built for light traffic,” says Nolutshungu.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula says the uPhongolo tragedy is a grim reminder of the truck challenge on the roads.
“The tragic circumstances under which these young lives were cut short are heart wrenching and could have been avoided. Each death must serve as a reminder of our collective responsibility to arrest the scourge on our roads and prevent loss of life. This incident must serve as a reminder of our duty to protect the vulnerable on our roads. This is not only the duty of law enforcement but all those who use the roads,” says Mbalula.