Cosatu's Ehrenreich takes bizarre swipe at successful road safety campaign
Statement by Donald Grant, Minister of Transport and Public Works
In one of a string of characteristically bizarre utterances, COSATU’s Tony Ehrenreich has now taken a swipe at the Western Cape Government’s successful Safely Home road safety campaign, falsely alleging that the anti-drink driving advertisements contain “racial stereotyping” (full complaint below). The spot referred to in the complaint is presumably either the English or the Afrikaans version of “Never An Accident 1”, which is part of the “When You Choose To Drink and Drive” series, which is further part of the #BoozeFreeRoads theme aimed at drivers (advertisements attached, isiXhosa and Afrikaans versions available on request).
The Safely Home Road Safety Calendar is centred on five core themes, based on the key strategic issues identified by the Safely Home Baseline Study conducted by the UCT Centre for Transport Studies (Jobanputra & Vanderschuuren 2010). These are: driving under the influence, speed, distraction, seatbelts and the overall subject of pedestrian safety.
Within these strategic issues, Safely Home road safety messages are deliberately targeted primarily at the most problematic demographic in the Western Cape, as identified statistically. This demographic is black, coloured and white males between the ages of 19 and 39.
The radio spots are thus recorded in Afrikaans, English and isiXhosa.
Both the English and the Afrikaans versions of “Never An Accident 1” feature two coloured males discussing their plans for the evening, which include drinking, then driving, resulting in the death of a child vehicle passenger.
The other two advertisements in the series are “Never An Accident 2” and “Know What You’re Asking For”.
Both the English and the Afrikaans versions of “Never An Accident 2” feature two white males discussing their plans for the evening, which include drinking, then driving, resulting in the death of a child pedestrian (an infant in a pram).
The isiXhosa spots in the series feature black males speaking isiXhosa, with the same message script as “Never An Accident 1”.
The series was aired between 1 December 2014 and 28 February 2015, and again between 1 December 2015 and 29 February 2016.
The series was released in all three official languages of the Western Cape, on Umhlobo Wenene, KFM, RSG, Heart FM, Good Hope FM, Radio Zibonele and Cape Talk.
The campaign ran in conjunction with a series dealing with pedestrians under the influence, also in all three languages.
Prior to Cosatu’s complaint, no complaints or negative feedback have been received from the public after hundreds of airings, either when the spots ran in 2014/15 or in 2015/16. During the 2015 Safely Home Attitudinal Survey, focus groups of all races listened to the ads, with none of the focus groups of any race picking up direct, implied or implicit racism in the “Never An Accident” spots or any other Safely Home advertisement.
It is very clear that the accusation of racism is misdirected. Safely Home is always prepared to engage constructively on how best to address the global road traffic injury pandemic as it affects the communities and economy of the Western Cape. We are therefore open to any constructive suggestions from any interested parties, including COSATU.
If the complainant is convinced that the radio spot is offensive, the complainant is asked to submit a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority, as the authorised national body tasked with making these kinds of adjudications. Thereafter we would be willing to assist with any investigation they deem appropriate.
Driving under the influence of alcohol and other substances is prevalent amongst young males in the Western Cape regardless of race, with catastrophic results for families and the economy. By making the choice to drink and drive, these people kill and injure thousands, drawing resources such as police and emergency services away from where they are needed most, clog up the courts with DUIs, and cause millions of Rand in damage to infrastructure for which tax and rate-payers must ultimately foot the bill. The road traffic injury pandemic is one that we take very seriously here in the Western Cape as we are committed to addressing it through our successful Safely Home campaign.
In this regard, Mr Ehrenreich is invited to attend the monthly Safely Home/ChildSafe/Global Road Safety Partnership-South Africa workshops which are conducted each month at Childsafe, in the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, Rondebosch. The next one is from 10am – 12pm on Friday 4 March 2016. The theme is #BeTheChange.
- Read Cosatu complaint.