No bulletproof vests for EC traffic officers

No bulletproof vests for EC traffic officers

Not one single bulletproof vest has been made available to Eastern Cape traffic officers since 2009, according to Transport MEC Xolile Nqatha.

At least two Eastern Cape traffic officers have tragically lost their lives in a hail of bullets in recent months, and one has to ask whether their lives could have been saved had they been issued bulletproof vests.

If we want law and order on our roads, traffic officers must feel confident that they have the necessary protection when dealing with dangerous suspects. We want fully motivated officers who are not holding back out of fear because they might be the next victim.

For the last four financial years, the DA has repeatedly called on the Department of Transport to procure bulletproof vests for their traffic officers.

Every time this matter was raised with the former Transport MEC, Weziwe Tikana Gothiwe, we were told that the Department was in the process of procuring these vests.

However, a recent response from the MEC Nqatha revealed that the Department last issued bulletproof vests to traffic officers 13 years ago, in the 2008/9 financial year.

It is completely outrageous that for the past 13 years, traffic officials have had to risk their lives daily without the necessary lifesaving equipment.

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It is essential for all law enforcement officials to have bulletproof vests, especially with the current rise of callous attacks against them.

As we approach the festive season, our traffic and other law enforcement officials will be called on to do more visible patrols of our streets. These men and women are placing themselves in harm’s way to ensure our safety over the holidays, but their Department clearly has no concern for them.

The DA is very concerned about the safety of our traffic officials and calls on the MEC to prioritise the procurement of bulletproof vests for our traffic officers.

How many more traffic officers must lose their lives before the ANC decide that they should perhaps follow through on their empty promises and finalise the procurement that they have been telling us they are busy with since 2018?

The DA will continue to fight for our officers and demand that they are treated fairly and given the necessary tools of the trade to do their work properly.