Con­ver­sa­tions with lead­ers

Pub­lic Works Min­is­ter Nkosi­nathi Nh­leko is lead­ing his de­part­ment's ef­forts to cre­ate jobs and em­power women

Public Sector Manager - - Contents: -

Thou­sands of South Africans will take to the coun­try's roads over the fes­tive sea­son ea­ger to make their way home to their fam­i­lies or set off on that well de­served break.

Un­for­tu­nately not all will reach their des­ti­na­tions safely.

The sad re­al­ity of the fes­tive pe­riod in South Africa is that de­spite the best ef­forts of gov­ern­ment, thou­sands of peo­ple are likely to lose their lives on our coun­try's roads.

The 2017 Easter pe­riod saw a 51 per­cent in­crease in the num­ber of road fa­tal­i­ties, ris­ing from 156 in 2016 to 235 this year.

Fur­ther­more, there were 1 714 deaths on South Africa's roads over the 2016/17 fes­tive pe­riod, an in­crease of five per­cent from the pre­vi­ous pe­riod.

Var­i­ous fac­tors were be­hind th­ese deaths in­clud­ing hu­man er­ror and ve­hi­cle fail­ures as well as road and en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions.

But at the end of the day, it is the re­spon­si­bly of ev­ery driver to ad­here to the speed limit, stop when tired, buckle up, keep off their mo­bile phone, slow down in poor driv­ing con­di­tions, en­sure the ve­hi­cle is road­wor­thy and hand the keys over to some­one else when they have had too much to drink.

At the end of the day, it is be­cause of the ac­tions of an in­di­vid­ual that thou­sands of peo­ple don't make it to their des­ti­na­tions and what was sup­posed to be a time of cel­e­bra­tion turns into one of mourn­ing for many South African fam­i­lies.

Not only are road ac­ci­dents claim­ing lives and rob­bing fam­i­lies of their loved ones and bread­win­ners, it is also af­fect­ing our econ­omy.

A 2016 study con­ducted by the Road

Traf­fic Man­age­ment Cor­po­ra­tion and Coun­cil for Sci­en­tific and In­dus­trial Re­search found that ac­ci­dents are cost­ing South Africa's econ­omy R142.95 bil­lion.

At the top of the lists of costs are hu­man ca­su­al­ties at 69 per­cent, ve­hi­cle re­pairs at

14.9 per­cent and in­ci­dents and in­fra­struc­ture at 15.8 per­cent.

The cost of road deaths to fam­i­lies and the coun­try is just too high.

So traf­fic law en­force­ment of­fi­cers will be out in full force over the fes­tive sea­son to en­sure mo­torists com­ply with the rules of the road and as al­ways, of­fi­cers will adopt a zero tol­er­ance ap­proach to en­sure safety.

Driv­ers and pas­sen­gers need to also adopt the same ap­proach.

Pas­sen­gers, par­tic­u­larly those us­ing pub­lic trans­port, have the right to point out to driv­ers that they are be­ing reck­less and neg­li­gent and re­port them to the au­thor­i­ties where the need arises.

Driv­ers, on the other hand, must place more value on their own lives and of those they are trans­port­ing and en­sure that none of their ac­tions en­dan­ger lives. And let's not for­get that pedes­tri­ans also have a role in road safety and need to be at­ten­tive when cross­ing streets.

While we take off our pub­lic ser­vant hats over this hol­i­day pe­riod to spend time un­wind­ing and bonding with fam­ily and friends, let's not for­get to be re­spon­si­ble and safe.

Soon, it will be time to re­turn to our work and en­sure that South Africa con­tin­ues to move for­ward in 2018.

Phumla Wil­liams, GCIS Act­ing Di­rec­tor-Gen­eral.

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