Prayers, can­dles to fight road deaths

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - LALI VAN ZUYDAM

TRANS­PORT Min­is­ter Dipuo Peters ad­mit­ted yes­ter­day that gov­ern­ment road safety cam­paigns were ul­ti­mately in­ef­fec­tive.

“It is com­mon cause that Christ­mas and Easter sea­sons have higher num­bers of fa­tal­i­ties than most pe­ri­ods put to­gether,” said Peters dur­ing a press brief­ing at OR Tambo In­ter­na­tional Air­port yes­ter­day, where she called for the na­tion to pray for safer roads.

She said prayer and “God’s hands of mercy” were nec­es­sary, be­cause the gov­ern­ment’s mes­sages were re­duc­ing the num­ber of ac­ci­dents.

“We need to reach out to our huge con­stituen­cies in ev­ery com­mu­nity and in ev­ery church. Through churches, tem­ples, syn­a­gogues, mosques and other places of wor­ship where the peo­ple of God gather in prayer and sup­pli­ca­tions, mes­sages on road safety must be prop­a­gated.

“It is of great con­cern to us that our ed­u­ca­tion and en­force­ment mes­sages fall short of reach­ing ev­ery road user. We be­lieve more can and needs to be done to wres­tle the mon­strous car­nage on our roads,” Peters said.

Road ac­ci­dents are one of the main causes of death in the coun­try and it is es­ti­mated there are 40 road-re­lated deaths a day.

“Look­ing at sta­tis­tics from De­cem­ber 1 we re­alise that we are still se­ri­ously chal­lenged and re­quired to raise more voices to reach out to our South African com­mu­nity,” Peters told the me­dia.

Of the 600 fatal ac­ci­dents in the hol­i­day sea­son thus far, she said: “It is enough. We can­not con­tinue los­ing lives on the roads. It is costly, it is painful and it kills the econ­omy.” Peters lit a can­dle to “re­mem­ber those whose lives were lost on our roads”.

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