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ROAD ACCIDENTS: SA ROAD NETWORK FAST BECOMING AN EARLY DEATH SENTENCE

 

KP Sithole MP
IFP Spokesperson on Transport

 

Road traffic accident deaths reported day-after-day and weekend-after-weekend are becoming inexcusable.

Our road networks leave all motorists vulnerable, in particular our children. Thousands of lives are lost yearly, which indicates that motorists on our roads are constantly at ‘grave’ risk for death.

This past weekend, five people, including two children, have been killed in an accident on the N12 west near Lenasia, Gauteng. The weekend prior, six people died when a minibus taxi and a sugar cane truck collided on the Old St Faith’s Road in KwaZulu-Natal. Thousands more innocent lives have departed and the death-toll continues to rise.

Accidents have become more destructive, more deadly and besides costing millions of Rands in damages, our roads are killing the most vulnerable members of our society. It is unaccetable that children are left either dead, severely injured or as orphans. The situation has become so dire with regards to children dying that at some hospitals, medical practitioners are gearing up for what is known as “paediatric surge season” between November and May where many children are admitted to hospitals.

The IFP firmly believes that awareness is important and that all motorists and society at large have a role to play in taking responsibility for their actions. However, Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula and his department play the most crucial role in focussing on enforcement and clamping down on corruption.

The IFP calls on Minister Mbalula to save our children and protect our motorists by implementing the following measures:

  • Strengthen capacity  to ensure consistently visible and effective traffic policing Nationally and in partnership with provincial traffic authorities;
  • Clamp down on the fraudulent issuing of learner licences, licences and roadworthy certificates;
  • Increase penalties for traffic officers who accept bribes and ensure that all traffic police officers uphold, defend and protect the laws which govern our roads;
  • Provide all traffic officers with – front of vest  – camera equipment to monitor and improve efficacy of all traffic law enforcement officers.
  • South Africans continue to believe that traffic officers are merely seen to be revenue collecting when stopping motorists for bribes and or to reach targets – this perception must be changed, but it  will only change once the tide is turned on our roads and trust is restored in our law enforcement agencies; and
  • Improve on the collecting, collating and regularly reporting of accurate road statistics and deaths on a monthly basis in order for the public to become more aware of risks and to ensure that improved strategies are developed to reduce road deaths with these statistics.

No amount of grandstanding nor “war-rooms” will ever return the loss of life of loved one, which families, mothers, children, and friends suffer through and mourn daily. It is certainly much more traumatic when a loved one has departed not of ill-health, but as a victim of our deadly road networks.

These are by no means exhaustive measures which can be taken to address road accident deaths, but focusses intervention to the core functions which must and can be strengthened by the Minister.

Contact:
KP Sithole MP
IFP Spokesperson on Transport
072 784 1909