Address during funeral of road accident victims by Mr Sibusiso Ndebele, MP Minister of Transport, Queenstown
4 Oct 2009
Today we are sad.
Today we are sad but today we are also angry.
We are angry at the unnecessary loss of lives.
We are angry that we have to say good-bye to our fellow brothers and sisters.
What angers us is that the deaths on our roads are deaths that are avoidable.
This is something that applies here in South Africa, it applies in the rest of Africa and also applies to the whole world the majority of the deaths on our roads are avoidable.
What is the problem?
In South Africa more than 16 000 people are killed yearly in road crashes and this costs the country more than R14 billion annually. The continent of Africa has the most dangerous roads in the world! Unless we do something about it today, soon we will find that in 2020 roads will kill more people than those who die from HIV and Malaria put together.
In the world some 3 400 men, women and children are killed every single day on the world’s roads while walking, cycling or driving. This makes a total of 1.3 million per year.
Our campaign which is led by Arrive Alive is seeing the benefits of visible policing and tight law enforcement, but when we bury so many people who die on our roads, it is painful and we must say is our campaign working.
Is it because we have too many cars on our roads? In South Africa we have over 7 million licensed drivers and over 8 million registered vehicles in South Africa. This number increases by 6 percent annually.
The primary contributory factors in fatal crashes or serious injuries include excessive speed, drinking and driving and the non-wearing of seatbelts. Motorcars, light delivery vehicles and minibuses are the top three vehicle types to be involved in a crash.
Pedestrians account for 50 percent of road crash fatalities in South Africa. Our national household travel survey revealed that:
* 38 million citizens live in households with no access to a car
* 40 million citizens do not have a driver’s license
* 14 million learners walk to school
* 13.7 million citizens use public transport at least once a week
* 7 million workers and learners use public transport
* 7 million citizens use a car.
Is it because we have so many cars on our roads that we have so many accidents? Can we afford these deaths, no! Is this something we must do something about, yes!
What are we doing about it?
Today we are more certain that we must clamp down on those who break the law. Having seen the sadness and pain the people here today, we are more certain the police must arrest all those who do not wear seatbelts, those who speed and those who drive drunk. The police must show no mercy. We are certain of this and we owe to the people we are burying today that their lives must spur us towards safer roads. We are certain of this.
The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) will continue with tight law enforcement against traffic offenders. We are committed to the implementation of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) throughout the country in 2010.
AARTO seeks to effect an efficient road traffic management environment in the country and enhance a culture of compliance through a demerit system. Obey the law or lose your licence. A special unit located in the national office will be available to assist provinces and municipalities where necessary with law enforcement. I will meet traffic officers soon to discuss these issues in my capacity as Minister but also as a fellow traffic officer, a qualification I obtained while MEC in KwaZulu-Natal!
As we issue a new card licence for drivers we will make sure it is tamper proof and cannot be forged.
In order to increase the driving skills base in the country learners will be taught how to drive while still at school and tertiary institution this initiative will easily put some 300 000 properly licensed drivers on our roads annually.
The first Global United Nations Ministerial Conference on Road Safety is scheduled to take place in Moscow from 19 to 20 November this year and we will use this occasion to attack this problem from all sides.
In conclusion, there is no longer a place for anyone who thinks they can break traffic laws and get away with it. We want a safer Africa; we want a safer South Africa; and a safer Eastern Cape.
On behalf of government and the Department of Transport we say to families and friends of those who perished in these accidents, we are with you in this time of pain. Our hearts go to the children, fathers and mothers who now find they have to continue life without a loved one. We are sad and we are angry.
We promise you this, when our sadness is gone, we will turn our anger into a renewed fight for safer roads.
We will ensure we fight on until our roads are safe for commuters, until our roads are safe for all road users.
uSoMmbawu anisikelele aniduduze! Sithi kuni thuthuzelekani! Akwehlanga lungehliyo! USomandla abe Nani! Siyabonga!
Issued by: Department of Transport
4 October 2009
Issued by: Department of Transport
4 Oct 2009
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