Minister of transport: We all need to work together to keep our roads safer

By South Africa’s minister of transport, Fikile Mbalula

Johannesburg – This year’s festive season takes place against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic that continues to ravage our country.

We have made a commitment that we will do everything in our power to ensure that the transport sector is not counted among the super spreaders of the pandemic.

Our efforts to curb the scourge of fatalities on our roads require a collaborative effort between government and civil society in order to tackle the key driver of this sorry state of affairs: lawlessness on our roads.

Over two-thirds of road crashes are preceded by a violation of traffic laws, confirming that these crashes are avoidable and preventable, if only people can inculcate a culture of responsible behaviour when using the roads.

In October 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa launched our 365-Days Action Agenda, an integral part of the Arrive Alive campaign, with the payoff line 24/7 Waya Waya, Okae Molao.

The 365-Days Action Agenda is an action plan that seeks to reimagine road safety in South Africa and capture the imagination of the nation through unconventional interventions that seek to primarily transform road user behaviour.

This agenda must be understood within the broader context of the reimaged transport safety strategy, and places emphasis on law enforcement as a daily activity throughout the year, rather than a seasonal effort.

Its successful implementation is dependent on establishing a single chain of command in traffic policing, which must enable a seamlessly integrated approach to interventions and messaging.

The implementation of 24-hour seven-day shift system for traffic law enforcement across the country is under way and will be implemented in the coming year to give impetus to the 365-Days Action Agenda.

During the 2019 festive period, we recorded a landmark reduction of 10% in road fatalities. This was achieved through intelligent deployment of law-enforcement capacity, leading to a swell of visible policing on the roads, particularly in the notorious hotspots.

On these high fatality roads, the law-enforcement authorities will heighten operations through multi-disciplinary joint operations and strengthen emphasis on fatigue management, reckless driving, intoxicated drivers (alcohol abuse and drugs), road rage, pedestrian enforcement and also track the moving violations through patrol vehicles to clamp down on distracted driving, dangerous overtaking and excessive speed.

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