Address by MEC Lebogang Motlhaping at the official launch of the Easter Road Safety campaign 15 April 2019 Batlharos’ intersection – R31, Kuruman.
Head of Department, Mr Moeketsi Dichaba;
Head of Ministry, Mr Kabelo Mohibidu;
Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS, Lt Gen Peter Shivuri;
Mayor of Gasegonyana Local Municipality, Mr Neo Masegala;
Santaco’s Provincial Chairperson, Mr Zwane Nkonki;
Santaco’s Women Desk Representative;
Representatives from organized labour structures;
Representative from Coca Cola;
Ward Councillor, Ms Nkagisang Ngezi;
Road Accident Fund Provincial Manager, Ms Nefale Tendani;
Youth Road Safety Ambassador, Mr H SontlabaFaith based leaders;
Members of the media present;
Ladies and gentlemen;
Today marks a penned appointment for us as a Department to emphasise our messages on road safety during this travel season as we approach the Easter period. It is not only an honour but a privilege to continue with our agenda of emphasizing the importance of road safety throughout the year while we strive to heighten our message during peak traffic times such as Easter.
We trust that as we stand here as a caring government of the people declaring our commitment, dedication and readiness, we will have the same level of commitment from all sectors of society.
I make this call, because it goes without saying that, road safety needs collective efforts as it is a matter that affects us all.
The slogan “Road Safety is Everyone’s Responsibility,” is a short descriptive message that summarises the essence of this collective effort and responsibility we should all strive towards and always remember.
Programme Director, speaking about remembering a critical message, it would be unjustifiable if I do not take a moment to remember loved ones we lost on the roads and in the line of duty.
When one loses a loved one, the impact is far greater than what meets the eye. I am sure the pain is immeasurable to someone who lost a loved one. May their memories that remain embedded in our hearts and memories be a reason we all strive towards a shared vision of safer roads for all and to ensure we arrive alive.
May we remember that using the roads either as a driver, commuter, cyclist or pedestrian remains an enormous responsibility. Many people will be travelling across the Province for pilgrims, visiting family and to holiday destinations. So, let us be considerate of each other on the roads.
I must, however, indicate without fear of favour, that our Provincial Law Enforcement officials will be out in their numbers to ensure that they implement the best developed strategies and plans in safekeeping our roads. This will be done despite the limited manpower we have in the Province, but that has never derailed or deterred us from our goal and mission of ensuring safer roads for all.
This is a mammoth task ahead of us however, with the number of stakeholders and members of civil society who have and can still come on board, we will ensure that this is a battle that can be won through collective efforts.
This is why we call on all members of society, civil society, faith based organizations, and all transport and community sectors to come on board and make a commitment towards safer roads for all.
Law enforcement officials will remain visible on the roads and will not tolerate any unlawfulness on the roads. Do not take chances on the roads or toy with people’s lives, if you do not value your own life.
Ladies and gentlemen, with that said, drinking and driving remains one of our key challenges while fatigue is the silent killer that needs us to plan better while travelling to allow ourselves sufficient time to rest before any journey and making rest stops. It would be better to say to your passengers that you are feeling tired or need to make rest stops than to lose a life because fatigue overpowered you.
Reflecting on Statistics and challenges
Reflecting on the statistics of 2017, we had 9 fatal crashes in the Province that resulted in 12 fatalities while in 2018 we had 11 fatal crashes that resulted in 16 fatalities. I call upon all of us to change the narrative for the better for 2019 by being responsible road users.
Our key challenges continue to reflect drunken driving, speeding, fatigue and moving violations such as overtaking over barrier lines. Other concerning factors include unroadworthy vehicles on the roads, overloading and pedestrian negligence.
Ladies and gentlemen, these are all human factors which we can correct by changing our attitudes and contribute positively towards how safe we all are on the roads.
Let us make a commitment and change the narrative. Let us write a different story for 2019. Let us all take personal responsibility to contribute towards a good story, not only for yourself but as a contribution you will be pledging and making towards your country. Our children need us to lead by examples so, let us let us leave them with a legacy of zero tolerance on the roads.
When travelling, let us be mindful on all our roads but also note some of our key problematic routes in the Province.
Our key problematic routes are:
1. Hotazel - Kuruman-Danielskuil-Barkly West-Kimberler
2. N18 - Warrenton-Jan Kempdorp-Hartswater
3. N12 - Warrenton-Kimberley-Modder Rivier-Hopetown-Britstown
4. N14 - Kuruman-Kathu-Olifantshoek-Upington-Kakamas-Springbok
5. N8 - Groblershoop-Kimberley-Bloemfontein
6. R385 - Olifantshoek-Postmansburg-Danielskuil
7. R59 - Kakamas-Augrabies
8. R58 - Colesberg-Norvalspont-Gariep Dam
9. N9 - Upington-Grobbelaarshoop-Britstown-De Aar
10. N1- Bloemfontein-Colesberg-Richmond
11. N7 Kamieskroon-Springbok-Steinkopf
The Department has listed some of our critical routes and challenges with the vision that as a society that endeavours to realise a safe and secure roads, we will collectively work together to realise this goal and change the outcome for our Province and ultimately the country as we aim to reduce road fatalities.
To those who will be ferrying our people around, including bus companies, the taxi industry, private vehicle drivers and even those delivering goods, consider others on the roads and remember that the decisions you make may impact on the lives of others. Do not be the reason why someone will lose their life. Let us all enjoy travelling safely and arrive safely at our various destinations.
I must indicate, Programme Director that the taxi industry in the Province has had a good report of not recording fatalities over such holiday seasons and my plea with them is that they must continue to keep the record the same way. May they even go as far as being known for their patience on the roads and for obeying the rules of the road.
As I draw near to the end of my address, I would like to appeal to all to take personal responsibility for their safety, their passengers, pedestrians and all other road users - especially children and to ensure that they are buckled-up on all journeys. Invest in car seats for your children so that in case of an accident, they have some level of protection.
Let us remember to arrive alive and be mindful of the following safety travel tips:
- Check the roadworthiness of your vehicle before embarking on any journey,
- Plan your trips and ensure you make rest stops every 2hours, 200km or change drivers,
- Be patient and drive within the speed limit,
- Do not drive fatigued or drink and drive,
- Don’t be distracted on the road: texting, eating or taking your eyes off the road,
- Be alert and consider pedestrians and cyclists.
- Be mindful of our traffic officials embarking on Law Enforcement Operations to ensure everyone’s safety on the roads.
In conclusion, I thank the continued commitment from all law enforcement officials, agencies and all sectors of society who continue to choose to sacrifice their time and resources to ensure we win the battle and strive towards safer roads for all. Your contribution does not go unnoticed and those whose lives you have saved, can only remain eternally grateful.
I thank you for your sacrifices and may you work well. I appeal to communities and all road uses to be considerate and to treat our officials with respect and appreciate the efforts of all who will be working over this period. Let us show appreciation for their sacrifices because while many will be travelling and enjoying time with loved ones, they will be safe guarding us.
We wish you all a safe and enjoyable Easter. Remember to “Arrive Alive”.
I thank you.