Speech delivered by Noerth West MEC for Public Safety, Mr Howard Yawa, MPL at the Provincial Road Safety debate held at the Rio Peermont Hotel Conference Centre in Klerksdorp
20 Aug 2010
Executive Mayor of Matlosana Local Municipality, Councillor Ofentse Mogale
Executive Mayor of Dr.Kenneth Kaunda District Municipality, Councillor Pinky Moloi
Chief Whip of NW Provincial Legislature, Honourable Dodo Baloyi
MMC’s for Public Safety from our municipalities
Executive and Senior Managers from Provincial Departments and municipalities
Representatives of our partners and sponsors from RTMC, BP, Road Accident Fund, Magalies Water and Bakwena Toll
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen
On 2 March 2010, the 64th General Assembly of the United Nations passed a resolution entitled "Improving Global Road Safety” proclaiming 2011-2020 the Decade of Action for Road Safety.
The resolution was proposed "with a goal to stabilise then reduce the forecast level of road traffic fatalities around the world by increasing activities conducted at the national, regional and global levels."
It classified global road safety crisis as a "a major public health problem" with a "broad range of social and economic consequences," and called for greater action from governments and recognises the crucial role that multi-sector partnerships play in implementing Decade of Action goals on the ground.
The UN resolved that member states must act without delay, first to prevent today's deadly trend from worsening, and then to reverse it. It agreed that urgent action is required to reverse the growing crisis that disproportionately affects young people, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.
We concur that the deadly road crash crisis is not a natural disaster. It is not a war becausethere are no enemies to be fought in road safety. It is entirely man-made, and all the more shocking for being so. Indeed what makes the road crash crisis particularly horrific is that road fatalities and injuries that are experienced on our roads are preventable.
The Road Safety debate is undoubtedly one of the best projects we have come up with to promote road safety towards meeting the 2006 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of halving road fatalities. One of the goals of the 2015 Road Traffic Safety Management Plan is to reduce by half the rate of accident fatalities arising from road and other transport by 2015. I believe that this programme will help us a great deal in inculcating positive attitude towards road safety in the minds of our youth from an early age.
Key to this programme is that it educates learners and communities about road safety through their participation in the programme. As I have already stated, the principal aim of this project is to promote safe use of roads and to address the underlying problems of road fatalities.
Programme director, road traffic fatalities, injuries and trauma constitute a serious problem, bringing adverse repercussions on the quality of life and longevity of most South Africans especially young people. This is of significant concern, both in terms of costs to individuals and the community, and the added burden it places on health services.
Despite our zero tolerance target on accidents we continue to witness road carnages of unequalled size. Our target also presents major challenges for road crash prevention, including a need to improve road safe behaviours and attitudes of the motorists and the general pedestrians. We dare not to weaver or back off until we attain this goal.
Inter alia, through the road safety education programme we intend to:
encourage learners to be aware of road safety issues/problems
empower learners with practical research skills
teach learners to take responsibility of road safety issues that affect their communities
develop and enhance the learners’ presentation skills by means of practical presentation sessions
promote teamwork and participatory learning by means of Participatory Education Techniques
provide possible solutions to prevalent road safety problems and challenges
Road fatalities have enormous impacts on individuals, families and communities in terms of health, social, emotional and economic aspects, including:
- physical and psychological impacts
- financial problems for affected families or victims when covering medical and legal costs
Indirect effects on community members include:
- fear of road injury, leading to young people and older people not venturing out on the roads
- fear of allowing children to walk, cycle or catch a bus.
More importantly most road fatalities are caused by peer pressure, inexperience, inappropriate speed, drugs and alcohol, driver fatigue, failure to wear seatbelts, as well as a lack of understanding and skills for safe road use.
It is a known fact that most accidents involves pedestrians and hit-and-run. It is also know that most people who are mobile during weekends are youth, mainly between ages of 18 and 35. It is during this time that young people are either travelling to places of entertainment or visiting friends or relatives.
Research has shown that learners in most South African communities have limited awareness of the importance of protective gear and reflective clothing for cyclists and the general pedestrians. There is also evidence that most of our learners do not know exactly which side of the road they should use when they walk and that those few who know simply ignore the rule that they must walk on the right side of the road.
A large percentage of drivers across all ages find it difficult if not impossible to wear seatbelts, either because they don’t know the importance thereof or they don’t believe in the significance of wearing seatbelts.
I am heartened by this competition specially because it educates learners about these issues while empowering them on public speaking and encouraging them to gain and exchange relevant information on road safety.
The inclusive approach and the number of schools and learners that we involve from sub-district level in next year’s debate competition should reflect that we are part of the Decade of Action for Road Safety.
We should as from next year strive for maximum participation in order to reach more learners. I trust that our municipalities will adopt the programme and work closer with us and the department of education to maximise participation.
In conclusion let me thank the Department of Education for a partnership that safe lives, our sponsors of this competition for believing in us and for sharing with our vision for safer roads and communities towards a better life for all.
We commend our road safety officers and our educators for their dedication and passion and last but not least learners, road users and prospective motorists for showing much interest in the competition.
The 2009 Provincial Road Safety Debating Team that Tshenolo Maape was part of made an indelible mark on the map for road safety. Our passion for road safety should distinguish us as we proceed to the next level of the debate competition because as the unknown author of the poem “Nothing To Fear” asserts;
There's nothing to fear - you're as good as the best,
As strong as the mightiest, too.
You can win in every battle or test;
For there's no one just like you.
There's only one you in the world today;
So nobody else, you see,
Can do your work in as fine a way:
You're the only you there'll be !
So face the world, and all life is yours
To conquer and love and live:
And you'll find the happiness that endures
In just the measure you give;
There's nothing too good for you to possess,
Nor heights where you cannot go
Your power is more than belief or guess -
It is something you have to know.
There is nothing to fear - you can and you will.
For you are the invincible you.
Set your foot on the highest hill -
There's nothing you cannot do.
May I also congratulate the winners in advance. Have a fruitful debate and remember road safety begins with you.
Ke a leboga.
Lesiba Moses Kgwele
Tel: 018 381 9171
Cell: 083 629 1987
Fax: 018 381 9123
Issued by: North West Public Safety
20 Aug 2010
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