Keynote address by Honourable Thandiswa Marawu, MEC for Transport, Roads and Public Works at the launch of Operation Kwanele N2 special intervention project in Mount Frere
5 Oct 2012
Mayor and Councillors of Umzimvubu Municipality
Councillor representing the Executive Mayor of the Alfred Nzo District
Public transport industry
Law enforcement agencies
Ladies and gentlemen
One of the key focus areas of the 2012 October Transport Month Campaign is Transport Safety through:
- Promotion of the short-term and long term transport plans of the Department of Transport, Public Entities and Municipalities
- Highlighting successes of all stakeholders in creating safe transport modes and contributions towards socio-economic development, innovation etc.
For too long, the Province of the Eastern Cape has been perceived as one of the most dangerous areas to visit, because of the number of road accidents.
Most of those road accidents have been taking place on the N2 between the Western Cape and Eastern Cape border and between the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal border.
This route is regarded nationally as the most hazardous route, because of the high number of accidents that have occurred, according to the statistics that have been drawn up by both the Road Traffic Management Corporation and the National Department of Transport.
It is evident from the statistics that most these accidents occur after normal working hours and during weekends and:
- The most common time for fatalities on the roads is between 22h00 and 06h00.
- Thursday night to Sunday night is the most dangerous period claiming the biggest number of fatalities with Saturday night being the highest.
Kwanele! Enough is enough!
As the MEC responsible for transportation in this province I cannot fold arms, because the most difficult task in this portfolio is to attend memorial services of people, who died on our roads, while we all know and agree that road accidents are preventable, but they continue to occur at an alarming rate with:
- Motorists continuing to drive at an unacceptably high speed and under the influence of alcohol
- Motorists overtaking at wrong areas
- Public transport vehicles continuing to overload
- Children continuing to be vulnerable both as pedestrians and passengers
On behalf of provincial government, I would like salute all the law enforcement agencies and other role players that heeded our call for a Special Law Enforcement Intervention Project on the N2, which is now widely known as Operation Kwanele in order to make the N2 corridor which is about 927 km from Tsitsikama Toll Plaza from Western Cape border to Brooknek on the KwaZulu-Natal border the safest corridor.
A special word of gratitude goes to the Provincial Traffic Authority, Metro and Local Traffic authorities along the N2, South African Police Service (SAPS), South African National Road Agency Ltd (SANRAL), Road Traffic Management Corporation, fire and ambulance services, breakdown services, National Prosecuting Authority, South African National Defence Force (SANDF), Road Safety Education officials, South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) and SABOA.
I would like to invite the media to join forces with us in order to spread the message of road safety in our Province.
We believe that the new N2 plan that will be implemented by these role players will help us to make the N2 the safest corridor in South Africa by:
- reducing speed offences
- reducing alcohol related offences
- reducing overloading offences
- reducing pedestrians offences
- increasing enforcement visibility
- communicating road safety messages
- combating crime and corruption
The Provincial Authority will co-ordinate the operations and provides some resources in order to effectively combat the carnage on this route.There will be ordinary patrols, K78 and sporadic roadblocks to be held throughout.
We will make sure that there are traffic officers visible in every 30 km stretch and our main target are: motorists, truckers, taxis, buses, pedestrians, local holiday travellers, international tourists, long distance coaches, dangerous goods carriers.
Simultaneously, we will intensify of road safety operations working together with the Community Road Safety Councils, traditional leaders, schools and communities along the route.
Through the National Department of Transport, Eqstrata is now our strategic partner in the “Driver for Walker” & “Walker for Driver” Campaign – a road safety initiative that seeks to improve the safety of pedestrians on our roads. Currently, 40% of road accidents in this Province involve pedestrians.
Most of the hazardous locations that have been identified through this project are along the N2 and we hope that working together with communities, especially traditional leaders, we can be able to turn the situation around.
We will further ensure that our road rangers are more visible through effective monitoring in order reduce the number of stray animals on this route.
SANRAL will continue to help us to improve the infrastructure on the N2 and increase the number of spots that can be used be traffic officers to mount roadblocks on this route.
To further ensure that this plan serves as a deterrent for all traffic offences, I would like to take this opportunity to give an instruction to all traffic law enforcement agencies in the Province to implement the Woza Re-test project.
The Woza Re-test project is currently being piloted by the Road Traffic Management Corporation but has not yet been introduced in the Eastern Cape.
Given the high incidents of dangerous driving leading to serious casualties in the country, especially in this Province, the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) has given a go ahead to provinces to roll out this innovative and precautionary safety programme which will serve as both education and rehabilitation for convicted traffic offenders.
This project is in line with Section 25(1) and 25(2) of the NRTA (1996) as amended, where every convicted driver found guilty of any of the arrest able traffic offences listed below may be subjected to both Section 25(1)(b) and Section 25(2) of the NRTA.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol and other substances with narcotic effects (Section 65)
- Reckless, negligent and/or inconsiderate driving (Section 63)
- Excessive speeding i.e. exceeding the 30 km/h threshold in built-up areas and 40 km/h on freeways. (Section 59)
The intention of this programme, therefore, is to suspend the driving licence of any driver who has been found guilty by a court of law, of one or more of the above offences, dating back from 1 January 2012, pending the outcome of a re-test of both, their learners and driving licenses, as per Section 25 of the NRTA.
Convicted offenders will be given fourteen working days in which to explain why his/her license should not be suspended pending the outcome of a re-test of both the learner’s and driving licenses.
The re-test will be at the RTMC’s cost and will be conducted by a duly nominated examination officer at an identified testing centre or traffic college. Should the offender fail the initial test, the costs for subsequent tests will be for the account of the offender.
Through this initiative, we want to ensure that all drivers that hold licences and drive on public roads are competent and safe. In this way, authorities can ensure the safety of all road users.
I would like to further invite traffic officers’ unions to come forward and engage me as the MEC in order to conclude the discussion on the introduction of a 24 hour shift system in order to improve our visibility on our provincial roads.
Furthermore, we have a collective responsibility as the people of the Eastern Cape to improve the quality of our public transport system.
As a transport authority, we have a responsibility to provide quality transport systems for a better life for all with a particular focus on introducing a safe, reliable and efficient multi-modal system for the rural poor.
We are now in the process of developing Provincial Integrated Public Transport Master Plan, which aims to improve the mobility of our people.
We believe that this plan will transform public transport in the Eastern Cape and lead to the integration of bus, taxi and train services for the benefit of all public transport users.
I would like to all relevant stakeholders to the Provincial Public Transport Summit to be held in Port Elizabeth on 25 and 26 October 2012, where this plan is expected to be adopted.
In conclusion, I would like to call upon all role players and communities of the Eastern Cape to make their own contribution to the Decade of Action Campaign for Road Safety 2011-2020 by supporting initiatives that will help us to improve safety on our roads.
The time has come for all of us to make road safety everybody’s business!
I thank you.
Issued by: Eastern Cape Transport
5 Oct 2012
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