Tom Stokes, MPP
The current saga around the shooting at a motorist by a VIP protection officer assigned to uMgungundlovu’s District Mayor, is part of the continuing chaos caused by the blatant disregard of the laws of our land by egotistical politicians who abuse blue-light regulations.
The fault lies entirely with the province’s incompetent Transport MEC, Willies Mchunu who has had frequent opportunities to show real political leadership by issuing unequivocal instructions to each individual politician in this province. The instructions should have made it clear as to who is allowed to fit blue-lights to their vehicles, when they are allowed to be used and what the restraints and permits are for any protection officer accompanying a politician.
Finally, the MEC should have given a reminder that every citizen in our country is subject to all the laws of the land, irrespective of instruction from anyone else who they may assume has the authority to override these laws.
Politicians accompanied by a VIP protection unit must be held accountable for any breach in traffic regulations, including exceeding the speed limit, reckless driving and endangering the lives of other motorists.
At present no one is immune from this rampant abuse of power. As a Member of the provincial parliament, I too have been placed at risk by officials on more than one occasion. Last Tuesday I was “pressured” at speed by the KZN Health MEC, Dr Dhlomo, in his BMW X5, on his way to a parliamentary sitting. Considering that I was going to the same meeting and that there was ample time to get there, the use of flashing blue-lights, weaving in and out of lanes and forcing motorists to allow this very important person to pass indicates a culture of careless disregard for both the safety of other citizens and scorn for the laws of our land.
KwaZulu-Natal needs a new Transport MEC – one who will take decisions that protect all road users and not just his or her pals in office.