Justice Project South Africa is deeply saddened, but in no way surprised by the sharp increase in road deaths that have been reported for the 2015 Easter season.
This year’s death toll of 287 lives lost, which represents a 48% increase over the 2014 period, bears stark testimony to the fact that South Africa’s road carnage is, instead of declining as is repeatedly claimed by the Department of Transport, rising at an alarming rate. This figure of course is a preliminary death toll which does not take into account those who were critically injured and may die in hospital as a result of their injuries.
Ironically, the Road Accident Fund levy was increased by the exact same percentage of 48%, from R1.04 to R1.54 per litre on 1 April 2015 and at this rate, the RAF levy will consistently have to be increased each year, unless proper and effective interventions come into play.
Despite it having been repeatedly proven that the so-called interventions Government chooses to implement are not working, it continues to try the same things and expects the results to be different. The enormous elephants in the room continue to be ignored and then surprise is expressed.
Justice Project South Africa has long held and continues to hold that whilst there is no silver bullet which will cure the situation and a holistic approach must be adopted, there are a number of interventions which must be made on an urgent basis. These include but are most certainly not limited to:
- An urgent review of the antiquated K53 licensing model which is producing a high number of incompetent drivers;
- An urgent transformation in the purpose of Professional Driving Permits (PrDP) for public transport drivers which is currently nothing more than a revenue generation tool;
- The urgent eradication of the widespread systemic corruption in both, licensing and traffic law enforcement;
- A countrywide transformation in the focus on revenue generation which has become the sole driving force throughout traffic law enforcement authorities and the municipalities they fall under to effective, visible and corruption-free traffic law enforcement; and
- The nationwide rollout of a points-demerit system.
It’s simply astounding that blame for the situation continues to be apportioned by Government on everyone and everything but itself. It must be remembered that the Minister of Transport’s National Road Safety Summit which was to be held in October 2014 was summarily and unashamedly cancelled just days before the event, based on the fact that “insufficient progress had been attained by State institutions on the resolutions adopted at the 2013 summit.
The fact is that these State Departments, Agencies and Corporations are populated by a bunch of “seat warmers” who do not take their mandates and jobs seriously but continue to be provided with sheltered employment – at the expense of taxpayers. This lack of accountability continues to result in bloodshed and when it does, the disingenuous rhetoric flows almost as prolifically as the blood which is being shed.
If Sweden could reduce its road fatalities by 97% over a period of a decade by, amongst other things, shifting the blame from road users to service providers such as State Agencies, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever that South Africa cannot do similar.
The time for the rhetoric to end has long since passed and Justice Project South Africa again calls upon the Minister of Transport to take the bold step to stop condoning the mediocrity of those who work in her department and agencies, and to start listening to the road safety experts and NGOs who have been beating their heads against the brick walls Government has erected around itself.
National Chairman – Justice Project South Africa (NPC)