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17 November 2011 at 09:00 - Posted by Anonymous

Zille to sign petition calling for blue light ban


Helen Zille
15 November 2011

DA leader says national govt must start respecting safety of other road users
I will be signing the petition to ban blue light bullies
On Friday the 18th of November, I will sign the petition by Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) to ban the use of blue lights by security teams transporting politicians. I will be joining over 11,000 South Africans who have already signed the petition in just four days since it was launched.
In March 2010 I wrote to President Zuma requesting an urgent meeting regarding the abuse of power by blue light bullies on our roads. That was after journalist Tshepo Lesole and student Chumani Maxwele were assaulted in separate incidents by the President's VIP security unit.
The Presidency acknowledged receipt of my letter, but never acceded to the request for a meeting.
Since then, the blue light bullies have continued in their dangerous disregard for the law, with the most recent and most tragic consequence being the collision with schoolboy Thomas Ferreira, who remains in a critical condition.
After this incident last week, I again wrote to President Zuma asking for his urgent intervention to put a stop to this lawlessness and force his Cabinet to comply with the law. I have not yet received a response.
In the Western Cape, we have already taken steps to ban the use of blue lights by all government officials, including National Ministers visiting the Western Cape, except in cases of genuine emergencies. National government must now stop hiding behind the excuse of urgent meetings and missed flights, and start respecting the safety of other road users.
The fact is that the abuse of blue lights is already against the law. The National Road Traffic Act says that blue lights may only be used by SAPS VIP units in the exercise of their duty, which is to protect the life of the Minister or MEC. This does not include getting them to a meeting on time.
I offer my full support to the call by JPSA to ban blue lights altogether. Judging by the response the petition has received in the days since its launch, President Zuma should take note of the feelings of ordinary South Africans about this abuse of power, and he must act to stop it, before others are hurt. 
Statement issued by DA leader, Helen Zille, November 15 2011
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