This Week In The News

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Want to be happy? Let the top down.

A scientific study has revealed that drivers are at their absolute happiest when driving a convertible car with the roof down. The study, performed by Fiat in partnership with associate professor of driver behaviour at Cranfield University and founder of PsyDrive, Dr. Lisa Dorn, found that driving a topless car improves alertness by up to 15%, increases happiness by up to 19%, and reduces stress by up to 32%.

TopGear South Africa launches its own Test Track

On the eve of its 3rd year in publication in South Africa, TopGear South Africa has today launched its very own Test Track facility operated out of the Brakpan/Benoni Airfield in Gauteng. Taking cues from the famous BBC TopGear’s playbook, the TopGear Test Track is a first for a publication of its kind outside of the UK. The 3.5-km track allows for the local publication to expand its content portfolio and deliver uniquely South African motoring content.

Sasol will now keep the traffic lights on in South Africa’s richest city

The Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) has partnered with Sasol, Nedbank, and Growthpoint Properties to keep traffic lights operational at key intersections in and around Sandton City during load-shedding, which has been billed as the “richest square mile in Africa.”

Cost of Cape Town’s taxi strike

The Santaco Stay Away resulted in over 280,000 learners being unable to attend school, a large number of them matric learners, and over 9,000 teachers and staff prevented from going to work.

Moreover, medical facilities including Tygerberg, Red Cross, and Groote Schuur hospitals, as well as community clinics, have had to operate at reduced capacity, and certain government staff were told to work from home due to the volatility of the situation.

In addition, several people have lost their lives including a British surgeon who unknowingly made a wrong turn on the way to the airport with his family, and accidentally drove right into an active strike zone in Nyanga where he was fatally shot.

At least Six Golden Arrow buses, along with several law enforcement and emergency response vehicles, were also torched, forcing Golden Arrow to terminate select routes to high-risk areas and to get a court order against Santaco, and causing authorities to adopt contingency plans to ensure the burned vehicles have no operational impact on the deployment of Law Enforcement Advancement (LEAP) officers.

The threatening of public transport vehicles saw thousands of commuters walking to and from their destinations daily, including on routes that aren’t walking-friendly like the N2 freeway, putting their lives at severe risk.

Towards the end of the Stay Away, the dangerous conditions further led to food insecurity in certain areas, with government stepping in to provide safety escort services for food delivery trucks in affected communities, in addition to armed escorts for public transport services such as the MyCiTi bus.

8-year driver’s licenses incoming

Earlier in August, current transport minister Sindisiwe Chikunga confirmed that she is heading to Cabinet with a proposal to extend the validity period for driver’s licenses in South Africa from five to eight years.

First tabled by Mbalula in October 2022, extending the validity period will have many benefits to the economy, chief among which are reduced administrative burdens on overloaded government departments, reduced spending for government and citizens, and less-frequent occurrence of license renewal backlogs.

The eight-year validity timeframe is expected to be instated alongside the new license cards, however, this remains subject to Cabinet approval.

Biggest car festival in South Africa happening this month

The 2023 Festival of Motoring is just around the corner, as the three-day event is scheduled to run later this month from Friday, 25 August to Sunday, 27 August, at the Kyalami Gran Prix Circuit in Midrand, Gauteng.

The festival promises a weekend packed full of exciting automotive action for people of all ages, including new car announcements, supercar galleries, video games, live entertainment, and interactive events like off-roading, drifting, and hot laps around the main circuit. 

Adults 1-day pass – R265
Adults weekend pass – R550
Children aged 4 to 7 – R70
Children aged 0 to 3 – Free