Cape Town – Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele has issued a stern warning to motorists who disregard traffic regulations and cause the death of innocent people.
He said there would be no negotiating with those who drove drunk or without a licence, warning that they would be sent to jail.
Ndebele, along with his deputy Jeremy Cronin, were addressing Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Transport on Tuesday.
“Driving without a licence – don’t think about it. If you do, you belong in prison. Drinking and driving is a no no,” he said.
Ndebele urged intolerant drivers to learn to smile at other motorists and realize that the road was a shared space. He said there was “anger on the road… there is tension”.
“A car is a good instrument but it can be a killer, be considerate to others.”
With regards to tolerance, the minister said that drivers in countries such as Angola did much better than those in South Africa. “People must value life. It cannot be considered normal that every month we count no less than one thousand bodies due to road crashes, most of which could have been avoided.
“The overarching thing that we all agree on is a need to start taking a microscopic look at these bodies we count every year. We want to call on the nation, especially those people who use our roads every day, to ask themselves a number of questions about their role in Road Safety.
“We want 2012 to be the year of action against those that seek to turn our roads into killing fields. We want drunk drivers to be isolated, and have their actions disowned by their own families for their destructive ways are deadly.
“Coupled with intensified and uncompromising law enforcement accompanied by harsher sanctions, we want to drive social conduct change programmes that would have as their primary objective to speak to the human beings behind the drivers of these vehicles we see on our roads daily.
“Road carnage is a problem that affects us all. It is therefore also a collective responsibility that will see us making inroads in making our roads safer,” he said.
“South Africans in general are not lawless people. Hence, out of all licensed drivers, only a few individuals continue to display total disregard for the rules of the road. These are the few who are turning our roads into killing fields.”
He indicated that such people must be “isolated and exposed for their deeds. They are not only a danger to themselves but pose a real threat to the sustainability of society.”
The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) presented its key interventions to fight road accidents and these were welcomed by the committee.
Meanwhile, Ndebele has conveyed condolences to the families of at least nine people killed in a road crash between a truck and mini-bus taxi on the N1 just outside Makhado at Adams Apple in Limpopo on Tuesday morning. – Francis Hweshe, BuaNews