Dear IFRTT Forum subscriber
As I’ve been thinking about heavy vehicle road transport issues in South Africa and the African continent that are worth mentioning in this newsletter, all seem to pale in significance compared with current and recent global events, such as the catastrophic earthquake in Nepal, and violent conflicts in the Middle East, Nigeria and elsewhere, and, closer to home, the recent Xenophobic attacks in South Africa. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the millions of people caught up in these and other similar situations.
On 31 October 2014, regulations were promulgated in South Africa (Govt. Gazette No. 38142) that extend the responsibility of overloading of heavy vehicles to include not only the driver and operator, but also the consignor and/or consignee of the goods in certain circumstances. This so-called consignor/consignee or “chain of responsibility” legislation, which has been under consideration for more than 10 years, came into effect on 31 January 2015. As far as I am aware, the legislation has not been tested in court to date, but it has had an impact on a number of large organisations, including state-owned enterprises, in terms of ensuring that their transport contractors transport their goods legally with respect to the relevant mass regulations. This development has also added impetus to the Road Transport Management System (RTMS) self-regulation scheme, as a number of consignors and consignees are viewing RTMS-certification of their transporters as a way of mitigating their risk. The number of participating heavy vehicles has increased from approximately 4 500 at the end of 2013 to approximately 8 000 to date. During the past 2 to 3 years, the bus industry in South Africa (the South African Bus Operators Association, SABOA, in particular) has encouraged bus operators to become RTMS-certified. On 6 May, Golden Arrow Bus Services, which operates over 1 000 buses (commuter transport) and is the third bus operator to become RTMS-certified, will be having their RTMS launch in Cape Town. A report on the recent RTMS launch of a freight operator, Dawn Logistics, with 13 depots in South Africa, includes some of the challenges and benefits they experienced and can be viewed at http://fleetwatch.co.za/e-mag/fw/issue27/html5/
The weather in South Africa has definitely taken a turn towards winter, although we haven’t yet experienced unseasonable cold spells that sometimes occur in April/early May to warn us of the impending winter. Minimum temperatures in most of the major cities are frequently dipping below 10°C and in some parts of the country are approaching freezing.
Technically this is still an April newsletter for those of you in the Americas. My apologies to Forum members on the remaining continents, who will receive this newsletter on or after 1 May. Many of you are no doubt indulging in Labour/Worker’s Day activities, which I guess includes drinking beer. And our Northern Hemisphere colleagues are hopefully enjoying the beginning of spring.
Best regards and drive safely
IFRTT Vice-President: Africa