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Police chief highlights 10 dangerous roads to Department of Transport – Gets ignored

On 14 April 2021, Gauteng Police Commissioner Elias Mawela wrote a note to the province’s then-Premier David Makhura, as well as the provincial and national transport departments, asking them to urgently address 10 national and provincial roads the police identified as being criminal hotspots.

Due to the environmental design of these routes, Mawela said they are “not favourable for effective policing” and this opens up opportunities for criminals to do things such as lay spikes and rocks in the roads to damage and subsequently hijack passing cars and trucks.

These identified roads generally have little to no lighting and are in such poor shape that they are not easily accessible for the police patrol vehicles supplied by the Gauteng Department of Transport, which are BMW sedans with low ground clearance.

Mawela said he notified the individuals in charge as soon as these dangerous routes were pinpointed so as to “give them ample time to plan accordingly and see how best they can improve lighting in those roads.”

However, two-and-half years and numerous lives lost later, Mawela has yet to receive any acknowledgement nor response to his letter and nothing has been done to ease his concerns, the police chief told eNCA this week.

Now that Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga and her VIP security entourage have fallen victim to these criminals themselves, Mawela has brought his findings into the public eye in an effort to get government to do something about these highly dangerous roads.

Current Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi confirmed that he is unaware of the communication as it was sent to the office of his predecessor, but that his department will look into the letters and address the issues at a provincial scale, as the national transport department is responsible for the roads that are located outside of Gauteng.

The hotspots

The high-risk roads that the police commissioner highlighted comprise:

  • N1 – Midrand to Carousel
  • N1 South – Naturena to Vaal River
  • N3 South – Leondale to Heidelberg
  • N4 East – Towards Bronkhorstspruit
  • N4 West – Akasia to Brits
  • N12 Golden Highway – Towards Potchefstroom
  • N17 Freeway – Wemmer Pan to Devon
  • R59 – Tulisa Park to Vaal River
  • R80 Mabopane Freeway – Eskia Mphahlele Road to Soshanguve
  • Ben Schoeman Road – Midrand to Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Centre

Mawela believes that the majority of the incidents – whether they be car accidents, hijackings, robberies, or murders – that happened on these roads in the past few years could have been avoided had the Premier acted on his letter in 2021.

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