The Western Cape is Ready for a Safer Summer
The Western Cape Provincial Government takes the safety of its citizens very seriously, and to this effect we have a transversal approach to safety in this province. This involves moving away from the notion of simply relying on law enforcement officers, but also looking at this in the broader sense, being proactive and making safety everybody's responsibility.
With the holiday season upon us, we have combined our energies and will be working together to make this summer safer for everyone. This does however need the support and buy-in of all communities and as such, we will be rolling out the following programmes:
[Albert Fritz] Through the directorate Traffic Safety Promotion, we are working with South African Police Service (SAPS) and Metro Police, and every effort will be made to limit the carnage on our roads this summer. I have said this before, and I will say it again. I do not want to have to visit countless families, sympathising with them for having lost loved ones in motor vehicle accidents.
During November we have seen success with Operation Futha, which focused on drinking and driving. We have acted strongly against those caught offending, and we hope that this sends a loud and clear message to everyone - If you drink and drive, you're a killer, and will have to face the full force of the law.
December and January will see us focus on driver and vehicle fitness, with Operation Bumper2Bumper and Operation Hamba Kahle respectively. It is not enough to simply drive while sober. Both you and your vehicle have to be fit for the road. We see too many accidents caused by driver fatigue, and to a lesser extent by mechanical malfunction, but nevertheless is your responsibility to ensure that both you and your vehicle are ready for the journey.
We will be everywhere. Where you least expect it, and where you can almost bank on it. Our officers are not out to inconvenience anyone, but it is clear that where law enforcement officers are present, driver behaviour instantly improves. At then end of the holidays, we want to get everyone Safely Home.
My safety concerns are not just limited to our roads though. I am equally concerned about safety in our communities and we're even more aware of the challenges facing young people in our communities who find themselves bored during these long holidays, where poverty is a real restriction to entertainment.
This weekend sees a group of young people selected from all over the province; embark on a journey that will hopefully change their lives forever. These remarkable youngsters, all of them grade 10 learners, come from all backgrounds, some more at risk than others.
They will spend one week at a safety leadership camp where the aim to turn them into youth safety activists, and for them to go back into their communities, to encourage other young people to turn their backs on crime, and rather channel their energies into positive contributions to the general safety in their neighbourhoods.
This project will continue into the New Year and we trust that a new mindset will form within our communities where people realise, as Khofi Annan once said, "In today's world, the security of every one of us is linked to that of everyone else".
Transport and Public Works
[Robin Carlisle] While Safely Home embraces a number of transversal projects to increase road safety, and is an ongoing programme, our focus over the festive season is to support the efforts of the Department of Community Safety and our other road safety partners, including South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL), the City of Cape Town, Metrorail, Transnet and the South African National Taxi Association Council, through targeted education efforts. The thrust of the message is that road safety is everyone's responsibility, especially if you are a driver, but also if you are a passenger, using public transport or are a pedestrian or cyclist. The vehicle for this message is the Safely Home programme, which is driven by the hard facts of accident statistics, and aimed at halving the number of fatalities on our roads by 2014.
Within the broader message of taking personal responsibility we are focusing on the core causes of road accident fatalities, including alcohol use by drivers and pedestrians, seat belt use, speeding and cell phone use. Changing attitudes towards road safety to one of taking personal responsibility is the key, and if we achieve even a small shift in any one of these four key causes of fatal crashes, we will save dozens of lives this festive season.
Beyond our regular media engagements, we are doing the following to get our message across this festive season:
- Broadcasting a no-holds-barred radio campaign, aimed at raising awareness primarily at the Province's young men, who cause the vast majority of its accidents, and who are dying in large numbers on our roads each year.
- Supporting our partners with two hundred and fifty thousand (250,000) pamphlets which drive home our key messages, with variations for drivers and non-drivers, to be distributed throughout the season at key points, road safety events and interventions, including by our taxi industry partners.
- Supporting our partners with outdoor messaging equipment, including gazebos and tear drops, featuring the core messages of Safely Home.
- As the Minister of Transport and Public Works, I will also be attending key events, like the opening of the brand new Safely Home Drunk Driving Operations War-Room or SHADOW in George on 16th December 2010. The new SHADOW centre will mirror the Cape Town facility at Athlone's Transport Services Centre, providing a state of the art detention and testing centre for suspected drunk drivers.
- We have launched a website, at www.safelyhome.co.za, which gives information about our projects and provides a blog where we are posting road safety messages and providing a forum for public comment on our initiatives.
Economic Development and Tourism
[Alan Winde] Summer in South Africa and particularly the Western Cape, is our peak season for tourism and the leisure industry is most certainly geared to offer our visitors, both local and international, the best experience the Western Cape has to offer.
Whilst this happens in the foreground, what happens behind the scenes is equally important.
The Western Cape Tourism Safety and Support Programme, in its 7th year of implementation, is based on Ireland's Victim Support model. It is aligned to the national Department of Tourism's Safety and Security Strategy for Tourists and is used as best practice by the National Department of Tourism. It is also used as a model for replication in other provinces.
This programme offers the following support for tourists in need:
- Medical/emotional trauma
- Assistance with short-term temporary accommodation
- Help with basic necessities where possible
- Help with contacting friends or relatives
- Facilitating counselling
- Assistance with short-term transport arrangements
- Contacting embassies in case of lost passports and visas
We are committed to a twenty-four (24) hour response to any tourist and we will offer them all the necessary support to get their holiday back on track.
Cultural Affairs and Sport
[Dr Ivan Meyer] Over the festive season I'd like to encourage all parents to help their children get to the local libraries, as these will be open, and not only provide a safe environment for the children to be in, but offer a place of learning that is fun. A number of libraries run holiday programmes and I encourage you to go to your local library to see what they are doing.
Our museums will also be open, and these offer hours of recreational fun and keep our children informed about South Africa's rich cultural history. There is a full list available on the Cape Gateway website. I am sure you will find a few museums that you have not yet visited.
The Sharp Centres, which focus on sporting excellence and youth development, will be running a number of weekend programmes. If your child has been involved in our province's Mod Centres or sports development in any way, I'd encourage you to contact your local Sharp Centre and find out about the activities.
I believe that a child in sport, is a child not in court.
[Theuns Botha] The prevalence of illness and injury are similar through the year and the burden on Emergency Medical Service (EMS) to respond to emergencies remains consistently high. Alcohol related injury results in weekly and monthly peaks over weekends particularly at the end of the month around 'pay day'.
Similar peaks occur during the summer season and in addition to the usual weekend peaks injury rates are expected to increase during the long weekends and public holidays over the Christmas and New Year period.
EMS will on the dates related to high traffic volume provide extended resources on the major arterial routes out of Cape Town including the N1, N2, N7, R62, R61 and R27. EMS resources will improve visibility by standing vehicles out on the main routes in order to raise awareness of the driving public to the dangers ahead. All thirty EMS Medical Rescue vehicles will stand out on main routes through the Province.
The N1 route will have rescue vehicle and ambulance response available in Beaufort West, Laingsburg and Leeu Gamka with both paramedic and Rescue Technician availability. In addition a twenty-three seater bus will be located in Beaufort West to transport uninjured victims of public transport accidents.
Cape Town will staff its normal complement of operational vehicles including four (4) rescue vehicles ready to respond twenty-four (24) hours a day to vehicle entrapments. Rescue Technicians on fully equipped rescue vehicle (Jaws of Life) will be strategically placed in the respective Health Districts with the objective of improved response times to motor vehicle and other rescue related incidents.
Major Medical Incidents will be managed through the Major Incident Medical Management System (MIMMS) and mass casualty resources will be mobilised to incidents from surrounding districts and Cape Town.
Four (4) Metropolitan Ambulances in Cape Town will be fully stocked and ready to roll to incidents on the N1, N2 and N7 in order to bring patients to Cape Town if necessary from small rural hospitals. The vehicles will be crewed by Advanced Life Support and Intermediate Life Support staff from Cape Town.
Two (2) other mass casualty resources will respond from Cape Town. The first will be the MIMMS medical response teams of Emergency Medicine Specialists to support medical staff at scenes or rural hospitals. The second will be the Mobile Mass Casualty Unit and Mass Casualty Vehicles from the METRO Rescue Base in Cape Town.
The MIMMS teams will be flown to districts by the Red Cross Air Mercy Service if necessary.
HealthNET vehicles will be available to assist with the transport of walking patients because of the downscaling of patient transport from the 15th of December to the 15th of January.
[All] Through our transversal approach we will all be working together, but the real success will come from cooperation and support from each and every member of the public. This government is ready to deal with whatever challenges this holiday season may bring, but ultimately we would like to communicate that the people of the Western Cape led the way in ensuring that we all have a safer summer.
Joint Statement by:
Western Cape Ministers Albert Fritz, (Community Safety), Robin Carlisle (Transport and Public Works), Alan Winde (Economic Development and Tourism), Ivan Meyer (Cultural Affairs and Sport) and Theuns Botha (Health)
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Transport and Public Works
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Economic Development and Tourism
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Cultural Affairs and Sport
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Western Cape Ministry of Health
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