The Department of Transport and Public Works Celebrates "1 000 Lives Saved" | Western Cape Government


The Department of Transport and Public Works Celebrates "1 000 Lives Saved"

23 July 2012

Media Statement by Robin Carlisle, Minister of Transport and Public Works

This morning, 24 July 2012, I, together with the Western Department of Transport and Public Works: Safely Home, join with our many partners to celebrate "1 000 Lives Saved". 1 000 people who would be dead if it was not for Safely Home. We have asked 1 000 of our staff and friends to be here, not just so that we can all see how many people that is, but because every one of you, in your different ways, played a role in saving these lives. This is your victory.

This could have not been done without our partners:

  • Alderman JP Smith and the City Police.
  • Kenny Africa and the Provincial traffic police.
  • General Lamoer and SAPS.
  • Advocate Rodney De Kock and the NPA.
  • Yasir Ahmed and the Safely Home team.
  • SAB and their contribution to Shadow.

This is your victory.

Statistics show a 29% reduction in roadside fatalities in our province for the period since the beginning of 2009. This percentage represents more than 1 000 lives saved.

The rate at which lives have been lost on our roads has been steadily declining since the beginning of 2009. The number of roadside fatalities has decreased steadily to 1 567 people in 2009, 1 487 in 2010, 1 321 in 2011, and 611 in June 2012, compared to the 1 739 people that were killed on our roads in 2008.

We are very happy to mark this road safety milestone of 1 000 lives saved, and continue to reaffirm our commitment to reaching our goal of reducing roadside fatalities by 50% by 2014. All measures necessary and appropriate to ensure that we reach this target have been adopted. We will endeavour to strengthen our traffic law enforcement agencies in a bid to send a clear message to those that abuse our roads: They will not get away with it and there will be consequences.

Some recent law enforcement:

Since January 2012 till June of this year, we have completed 880 992 vehicle checks, and of those:

  • 147 835 speed offences and high-speed arrests have been made.
  • 620 drivers were found to be driving while intoxicated.
  • 812 vehicles were found to be unroadworthy.
  • In the period between March 2011 and April 2012, 631 000 vehicles were screened for overloading.

Various initiatives have been adopted by the department to curb the scourge of fatalities on our roads. The Average Speed over Distance project (ASOD) that calculates the average speed of a vehicle from the time it passes the first camera until it passes the second camera has seen a drop in the number of drivers arrested for doing excessively high speeds. This project is operational on a 72 km stretch of road between Beaufort West and Aberdeen.

The Fatigue Management project involving the stopping and checking of all public transport vehicles (mini bus taxis) in Beaufort West and Laingsburg to assess driver and vehicle compliance, as well as the physical fitness of a driver, has also yielded positive results. Since its inception in the 2011/2012 festive season, a total of 11 737 vehicles were stopped of which 2 262 were parked due to the drivers being fatigued while six vehicles were impounded. In this period, there has been no public transport vehicles involved in serious or fatal accidents on this stretch of road.

Weekend alcohol blitzes that have been conducted since April 2010, in addition to the normal planned road blocks, have seen between 4 500 to 5 000 drivers screened per month and 2 840 drivers arrested in road blocks up until April 2012.

There has also been a special focus on learner transport that has seen daily stops and checks on learner transport since October 2010. This project also includes the inspection of buses parked on school premises during the day. An agreement with the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has seen only Provincial Traffic being able to test learner transport buses for roadworthiness as well as for compliance with transport regulations. The WCED will inform Provincial Traffic of all new learner transport contracts to ensure that the buses entered on said contracts are inspected for roadworthiness.

In the period October 2010 to April 2012, 7 409 buses were stopped, and of those:

  • 462 were found to be operating without operating licences.
  • 534 passengers were overloaded in total.
  • 99 drivers were unlicensed.
  • 112 drivers were without PDPs (Professional Driving Permits).
  • 111 buses were discontinued due to defects.
  • 18 drivers were arrested for various offences.
  • 1 933 summonses were issued to the value of R1 432 800.

We have also found that another effective weapon in our law enforcement arsenal has been the impounding of vehicles. Vehicular impound facilities in the province have been increased to five in the province and two in the City of Cape Town. Since the beginning of the year, almost 600 taxis (and counting) have been impounded predominantly for illegal operations (operating either without a permit or outside of their designated routes).

The savings to the provincial gross product are estimated at no less than R5 billion. We know that the number of emergencies at our provincial hospitals have dropped, and I understand that the panel beating industry is battling for business.

All of this has been possible through the tireless effort and commitment of the Department of Transport and Public Works, the Safely Home team, various other stakeholders, as well as ordinary citizens who have taken responsibility for theirs, and the lives of others on the road. We are beginning to cultivate a culture that respects the rules of the road and understands that roadside fatalities are avoidable through responsible road use.

Media Enquiries: 

Siphesihle Dube
Media Liaison Officer
Tel: 021 483 8954
Cell: 083 949 2781/084 233 3811