SAFE N2 PROJECT: The Safe N2 Project is a community initiative to protect road users travelling from Cape Town to Somerset. Members can be identified by stickers (pictured here). Image: Facebook
UPDATE: The comments section is open. Send us your thoughts at the end of this article.
Cape Town - News24 reports that the Western Cape government has increased its efforts to combat violent criminals targeting drivers along the N2 from Cape Town to Somerset West.
A new priority committee*, coordinated by Cape Town director of policing and enforcement services, Robbie Robberts, has seen incidents of violence and crime on the N2 dramatically reduced, making this critical transport corridor "safer".
From improved patrols to CCTV monitoring, the province highlights ways it will combat crime along the N2. The Western Cape transport department also revealed ongoing problems affecting road safety
Infrastructure and safety issue
• Ongoing maintenance to repair Sanral fences and similar infrastructure, with an estimated maintenance cost of R260 000 a month.
• Street lighting: Due to ongoing theft and vandalism of street lighting equipment, both Sanral and WCG deployed security to monitor the street lighting equipment. This had come at considerable cost; however the road authorities have managed to ensure at least a 90% burn rate.
• Pedestrians: with approximately 18 000 pedestrian activities (travelling along and crossing) the 155km of Cape Town’s freeways every weekday, there is a real safety concern for all road users.
Sanral says its interventions include engineering solutions such as bridges and fencing as well as technological interventions through the Freeway Management System (FMS) which utilises CCTV technologies.
'38 road users ran out of fuel'
The Joint Operations Centre is run from the Traffic Management Centre in Goodwood on a 24/7 basis.
Road statistics from the province in September 2015:
According to the transport department: "During the last week in review, there were 227 incidents – two animal crossings, five crime related incidents, 16 crashes and 204 incidents involving stationary vehicles."
Known causes for the stationary vehicles were:
-38 incidents of road users ran out of fuel
-32 had mechanical failures
-20 pulled over to use a cell phone
-18 stopped to drop off goods or people
-12 suffered flat tyres.
According to the department: "Stopping on a freeway is illegal; you could receive a fine and you could expose yourself to danger. Do not stop on a freeway unless it is essential. Ensure your vehicle has enough fuel before you leave and that it is roadworthy."
Daily deployment on the N2 has been increased by all agencies involved in 24/7 operations. At a minimum, this comprises:
-11 vehicles and 16 officers from 6am to 8pm
-13 vehicles and 21 officers from 8pm to 11.30pm
-12 vehicles and 20 officers from 11.30pm to 6am
In addition, senior personnel are being deployed at the Joint Operations Centre (JOC) around the clock to coordinate operations.
The Airports Company South Africa says it will contribute towards the budget that allows for the employment of City Law Enforcement officers to be recruited from neighbourhood watches in communities alongside the N2 near the airport.
These community neighbourhood watches will patrol areas on the N2 alongside the airport 24 hours a day, reports the department.
What do you think should be done to combat crime along the N2? Email us or contact us via Facebook and Twitter to tell us your e-toll stories.
More plans for road safety:
• Strategic deployment of officers to patrol high-risk areas and to rapidly respond to any threats.
• Provincial traffic interventions along the N2 will be concentrated to peak times. 20 traffic officers and 10 vehicles will be deployed every day of the week.
• The plan focuses on increased visibility of law enforcement personnel along high-risk routes, rapid response to emergencies and road assistance requirements, coordinated and high-level supervision of operations on the ground and continued engagements between partners to ensure an integrated and effective approach.
Emergency numbers you NEED to save:
Direct link to the City of Cape Town helpline – 021 480 7700; Dial 112 from your cell phone; or SAPS – 10111.
Safe N2 Project
In August 2015, Wheels24 reported on Somerset West community members establishing the Safe N2 Project - a community lift-club initiative.
Read more here: Taking back our roads - 'Safe N2 Project' in action
WATCH: Safe N2 Project explained
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* Information provided by a joint statement by minister of community safety, Dan Plato; minister of transport and public works, Donald Grant; City of Cape Town mayoral committee member: Safety and Security, JP Smith and South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) representative, Randall Cable.