Minister Grant Calls on Road Users to Play Their Part to Prevent Road Deaths
Statement by Donald Grant, Minister of Transport and Public Works
Honourable Deputy Mayor of the Breede Valley Municipality,
Honourable Kobus Marais, Member of Parliament,
Reverend Denvor Wagenar of the Dutch Reform Church here in De Doorns,
Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service, General Arno Lamoer,
Regional Manager of SANRAL, Mr Kobus van der Walt,
Representatives of SANTACO Western Cape,
Mr Edward Poole, representative of the Freight Industry,
Vice Chairperson of the Traffic Chiefs’ Forum, Mr Japie Cornelissen,
Provincial Traffic Chief, Mr Kenny Africa,
Senior officials from the Department of Transport and Public Works,
Ladies and gentlemen.
Good morning, Molweni, Goeie more.
Thank you all for being here today. Your presence shows a combined commitment and a shared concern for our road users during this special time of the year. Every year, the holiday season rolls around bringing with it heavy commuter volumes on the province’s roads.
What is supposed to be a time of joy is instead marred by reckless behaviour and peaking fatalities.
Between 1 December 2013 and 31 January 2014, 221 people were killed on the province’s roads – a lower number than in previous festive seasons.
The Western Cape Government, through our Safely Home initiative, is determined to decrease that number further, and calls upon all road users to be extra vigilant this festive season to ensure that they and their families arrive safely at their destinations.
Festive Seasons Breakdown
- December 2010/ January 2011: 263
- December 2011/ January 2012: 247
- December 2012/ January 2013: 230
- December 2013/ January 2014: 221
In the 2013 calendar year, 1 216 lives were lost on our province’s roads. Road injuries and death in this province cost the Western Cape economy an estimated R21 billion – more than either the province’s health or education budgets. That excludes the human or emotional cost. Nationally, the picture is even more grim, with an estimated 17 000 lives lost annually. The National Department of Transport estimates road trauma costs to the South African economy R306 billion annually, which is money that should be directed to improving levels of service delivery. The situation simply cannot continue unabated and urgent action is needed from all stakeholders and citizens, in partnership, to curb the carnage on our roads.
Safely Home has launched a multimedia campaign focussed on the dangers associated with alcohol and road use. The campaign is live on the Safely Home website, Twitter: @WCGovSafelyHome hashtag #BoozeFreeRoads, and is supported by radio advertisements on various radio stations, as well as campaign posters at key locations.
The Western Cape Government has made every effort to ensure safe roads over the festive season. Our Provincial traffic officers remain the only traffic service to operate a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year traffic enforcement service. This will be intensified over the upcoming festive season.
There will be more round-the-clock enforcement operations over this festive season focused on:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol.
- Excessive speed.
- Average Speed Over Distance (ASOD).
- Driver Fatigue management.
- Driver/vehicle fitness.
- Distracted driving.
- Pedestrian safety.
- Seatbelt compliance.
- Inter-provincial operations.
- Licencing plates.
- Safe following distances.
- Transportation of illegal substances/elicit cigarettes.
We have just recently extended our successful Average Speed Over Distance (ASOD) camera enforcement system to cover a larger part of the notorious stretch of the N1 from Laingsburg to Touwsrivier in the Western Cape.
This is the fifth phase of this enforcement technology - now covering a total of 423.2 km of road in the province. It has seen a substantial decrease in both road fatalities, as well as speed violations on the province’s most dangerous roads, the N1, the R61, and the R27. The system will be extended also to parts of the N2, including Sir Lowry’s Pass.
- Not speed.
- Not drink and drive.
- Be extra mindful of pedestrians (who make up close to half of all the fatalities in the province).
- Not use cellphones while driving.
- Ensure that they buckle up, and most importantly that children in the vehicle are buckled up.
Apart from roadside activities, traffic officials will also promote visible traffic policing and operational readiness, including the further implementation of our successful “sticker project”, targeted specifically at public transport vehicles that will be embarking on long trips across the province, and beyond, transporting thousands of holiday-makers to their various destinations.
We will work closely with our partners over this festive season to ensure safety for all over this festive season, including our partnership with the South African National Taxi Council’s (SANTACO) "Hlokomela" project, whose goal it is to "change the face of the taxi industry", through its road safety initiative. I am pleased to know that industry leaders will be assisting our officials at ranks and road blocks to identify un-roadworthy vehicles and address drivers on safety and the need for regular rests.
I should like to take this opportunity to extend a word of thanks to our partners in:
- South African Police Services (SAPS)
- Municipal traffic authorities and the Metro Police
- Western Cape Government.
- City of Cape Town
- South African Revenue Services (SARS)
- National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)
- South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL)
- Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC)
- Home Affairs.
We truly are Better Together, and our collective efforts will continue to save lives on our roads.
Road users are encouraged to make use of emergency contact numbers to contact the authorities over this very busy period on our roads:
- Emergency Traffic Control Centre: 021 812 4581
- Roadside Emergencies: 10177
- City of Cape Town Communications Centre: 021 596 1999
It is important for all road users to begin to identify themselves with the many that make responsible decisions on our roads, and value their lives as well as the lives of others. The burden of ensuring that we get Safely Home falls upon us all equally, from drivers, cyclists, passengers to motor-cyclists and pedestrians. We are ALL road users. We all need to show respect to one another on the roads, while taking responsibility for our own lives, as well as those of our loved ones.
Provincial Traffic Chief, Kenny Africa, presented an overview of the operational plan and can be contacted on 084 562 4574.