The high number of incidents and fatalities recorded at this time of the festive season has shocked and concerned the Community Safety and Transport Management MEC, Dr Mpho Motlhabane.
To date, about 58 fatalities have been recorded with 58 incidents, which 26 were pedestrians, 13 lost control, 4 cyclists, 8 head on collision and 2 tyre bursts.
Other incidents were unknown while others it was suspected to be mechanical faults on the vehicle.
Last year during the same period, the province had recorded at least 75 fatalities. “It is not an exciting reduction at all. 58 people dying on our roads it’s too much. More worrying is that most of our people dying are pedestrians. This reflects an unrestraint conduct of our road users in general. If a pedestrian gets hit by a car, those there are two people involved, a pedestrian and motorists and both are road users.
And this is a clear indication of not using the road wisely by our road users; it might be the motorists on the bad side of the law or the pedestrian. However, the department together with the South African Police Service (SAPS), Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), will never surrender ourselves to bad road usage. We will never allow the lives of our people to flourish on our roads.
Today our roads are painted with the blood of our loved ones and this leaves us with pain because, as we speak now, someone is a widow today and one child somewhere is an orphan,” said the heartbroken Motlhabane.
He said the Department has partnered with Municipal traffic, RTMC and all other law enforcement agencies to increase visibility in all critical roads of the province.
“We have heightened visible policing in every entrance of our towns and increased traffic and police visibility on our roads, but our people must also contribute in reducing these incidents by taking responsibility. As much as we try our best, we cannot be in every street or car that is travelling on our roads,” he pleaded.
The departmental MEC said, traffic operations are been conducted in every critical road of the province and warned those who will be caught on the wrong side of the law. “We are going to continue arresting those driving under the influence of alcohol, those who drive with high speed, driving without driver’s licence, driving without fastening your seatbelt and unroadworthy vehicles will be impounded immediately,” he warned.
The department recently has created about 85 jobs through management of stray animals. “Stray animals have been causing a high number of incidents in our roads and we then saw it fit to get rangers who will assist us with these animals but besides that, we also continuously engage with our famers and communities with the same issue and we are grateful that this is now bearing fruits.
“Now we would like to urge our motorists to be on the lookout of jaywalkers and further take the same plea to our pedestrians to avoid walking on the road under the influence of alcohol.
“Safety begins with me, with you and with all of us. Please take precautionary measures before leaving the house, practice road safety as you drive on our roads and be alert at all times,” MEC Motlhabane concluded.