Cane spillage clampdown
HARSH warnings have been issued to growers whose overloaded trucks spill cane onto roads during delivery to mills, causing accident dangers to motorists.
The South African Cane Growers Association (SACGA) and Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) have urged Zululanders to report cases of sugar cane spillage.
This after a number of concerned motorists raised the issue of large amounts of sugar cane falling off overloaded trucks within the region, posing a risk to road users.
With the sugar cane harvesting season in full swing, SA Cane Growers Northern KZN Senior Regional Manager, Glantile Mashile, said cane spillage can be an issue especially if the vehicle is ‘bread loafed’.
‘This is when the cane is loaded higher than the vehicle’s sides to get in a full load.
‘There are no standards for product containment with cane, except that spillage should not occur and it is the haulers’ responsibility to ensure this.’
Mashile said the four mills within the region - Amatikulu, Felixton, Umfolozi and Pongola - are responsible for the cleaning of the roads when there are excessive cane spillages.
‘Road conditions do contribute to cane spillage, so it would be useful to know where the complaints are coming from so a focused intervention can take place.
‘The public is therefore encouraged to notify local sugar cane farmers associations of spillages on the road, by calling 031 5087201 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘Road safety is paramount, and it was one of the reasons the Road Transport Management System (RTMS) was introduced 11 years ago,’ said Mashile.
RTMS aims to reduce overloading through self-regulation, but also provides for the implementation of an accreditation system for sugar cane haulers, and according to Mashile, it has achieved good results
Agricultural Engineer at the South African Sugarcane Research Institute (SASRI), Dr Peter Tweddle, agrees.
‘The track record is showing much better loading performances now compared to 10 years ago. There have been massive gains and benefits with the use of RTMS, which at the end of the day means safer roads for South Africans,’ said Tweddle.
Meanwhile, RTI spokesperson Zinhle Mngomezulu warned trucking companies that they could face fines of up to R2 500 for overloading.
‘It is important that the load is secure and complies with the National Road Traffic Act in terms of the maximum load each truck can hold.
‘As this is an issue that occurs on a daily basis, it is hard for us to deal with as we cannot enforce road safety if we do not have information about the offenders.
‘The public are urged to provide us with full details of overloaded trucks, the registration number and the company name,’ Mngomezulu said.
Spokesperson for the Mthonjaneni Municipality, Thami Shangase, said trucking companies should not exceed the loading limit and need to stick to the limit put in place by the Department of Transport.
‘We will ensure that we ask our traffic officials to look into the matter and monitor the situation,’ he said.
A typical example of a truck that has been ‘bread loafed’
Cane spilled on the R34 and R56