Keynote address delivered by the Minister of Transport at the World Remembrance Day and launch of the 2023/24 Road Safety Festive Season campaign in Tsakane

29 November 2023 | From Arrive Alive


INTRODUCTION
Let me take this moment to appreciate the organisers of this event for the work well executed. I wish also to thank you all for your attendance and participation at this launch of our Road Safety Festive Season Campaign on this day on which we also remember those that perished or were injured particularly on the roads, and elsewhere in the transport environments of this our beloved land.

GBV and Femicide
We launch our Festive Season Road Safety Campaign during the 16 days of activism for no violence against women and children. This year marks 25 years since South Africa initiated the campaign and I call on the transport and law enforcement community to prevent practices that perpetuate inequality and the abuse of women and children. 
Gender based violence is devastating our communities and requires a joint concerted effort by all of us to make our country safe for women and children. As we take a pledge to improve safety on the roads, let us also pledge to take-action to support 16 days of activism of No Violence against Women and Children.

Programme Directors,
The Festive   season much like Easter   holidays, is one of the   busiest travel seasons on our roads. We witness a lot of movements between provinces.  It is also a period where we experience an influx of tourists from neighbouring countries   visiting South Africa in numbers.  

HISTORY OF ROAD SAFETY INTERVENTION PROGRAMMES AT INTERNATIONAL, REGIONAL AND DOMESTIC PLATFORMS

Fellow South Africans, 
Road crashes and fatalities are amongst major challenges that countries of the world have had to grapple with for some time. 
Road related crashes, resulting into serious injuries and fatalities, were only brought to the Global Agenda in 2009, when over one hundred Ministers of Transport came together and took a UN resolution to declare 2011-2020 A Decade of Action for Road Safety. The primary aim of the first decade of action for Road Safety was to REDUCE and STABILIZE road crashes and fatalities.

The main objective was to save 5 million lives and up-to 50 million serious injuries, by halving road accident by 50 percent at the end of the decade for Road Safety which was in 2020.   

In August 2020 The UN General Assembly issued a new resolution which proclaimed the period 2021–2030 as the Second Decade of Action for Road Safety. The 2nd Decade of Action also aims to reducing road to traffic deaths and injuries by at least 50 per cent by 2030. 
According to scientific empirical evidence, it is recorded that more than 85% of road traffic injuries and deaths occur in low and middle-income countries and impose huge economic costs in these countries. Research shows that Africa is the least motorized continent, possessing 2% of the global vehicle population, but it contributes 16% of the recorded global road traffic fatalities. 
 
To address this scourge at SADC level, we developed the SADC Protocol, which is an instrument used adopted and used by SADC member states which seek to establish Transport, Communications and Meteorology systems that provide efficient, cost-effective and fully integrated infrastructure and operations to promote economic and social development while being environmentally and economically sustainable. 

In the South African context, as a nation, we first experienced our major road crash over a century ago, that is, in 1903 in Maitland, in the then Cape of Good Hope, currently known as the Western Cape Province. Statistics show that between 1903 and 2014, we recorded four hundred and fifty-nine thousand and ninety-five hundred (459 095) road crashes, which resulted in five hundred and fourty five thousand, six hundred and one (545 601) road deaths. 

Since the dawn of democracy, we have seen an escalation in numbers of road traffic casualties. And this is attributed to the increase of vehicle population as more people were now eligible to access bank loans and able to purchase vehicles. 

From 1994-1995, the vehicle population increased by 1 million, from 5,5 to 6,5 million. Calculating from a period between 1994 to 2022, we moved from 5.5 million to almost Thirteen (12 964 430) million vehicle population. 

Such an increase has presented a plethora of road safety related challenges from human factors, environmental factors, engineering and technical factors, law enforcement as well as education and awareness factors. Due to the increased statistics on road crashes, fatalities and serious injuries, South Africa was amongst the first countries to be a signatory to the 2011-2020 Decade of Action for Road Safety in an effort to change the status quo.

INTERVENTIONS THAT HAVE BEEN ESTABLISHED AND ARE BEING IMPLEMENTED IN SOUTH AFRICA

Programme Directors; 
To actualize the implementation of the UN’s Decade of Action for Road Safety as a country we developed a National Action Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety in line with the Six Pillars of the “Safe System Approach”: which includes: 

Pillar 1:  Road Safety Management 
Pillar 2:  Safer Road and Mobility 
Pillar 3:  Safer Vehicles 
Pillar 4:  Safer Road Users 
Pillar 5:  Post-Crash   Response
Pillar 6: Youth and Mobility

•    At a national level, as the National Department of Transport, we convened a series of national road safety policy consultative workshops and a Road Safety Summits to foster open and critical dialogue between government, industry, civil society and academia. On the Monday, the 27-28 November the RTMC together with Industry stakeholders will be hosting a Road Safety Summit to engage further on the newest technologies that we need to adopt as a country to ensure safety on our roads. 
•    We introduced legislative amendments to enhance preventive measures, for instance we introduced blood alcohol content limits; speed limits especially in urban areas and around schools. We also established mandatory the seat belt regulations and child restraints use. Key to this was the admission of the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) as a member on the UN Road Safety   Collaboration (UNRSC) as a lead agency on Road Safety which gave rise to South Africa’s participation on the Global Road Safety Plan.  
•    We examined a range of sentencing options for traffic violations, including licence suspensions under the AARTO demerit points system, and – for specific grades of offences – community service sentences and/or mandatory licence re-testing.
•    We approved the 2016-2030 National Road Safety Strategy, with intermediate and long-term actions to ensure vehicle fitness, driver safety, pedestrian safety, community participation in issues of road safety.
•    We developed an action plan for the achievement of the goals, through the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) as a lead agency on road safety matters, and working together with all roads-based Transport Entities, Provinces and Local Municipalities.
•    We put in place, advance technical norms and standards for road infrastructure and vehicles; 

To have savvy and smart drivers, better vehicles and road safe pedestrians, we introduced:

1.    Multi-lingual, touch-screen, audio-visual computerised learner driver’s licence test systems, with a view to minimising corruption at the first stage of the licensing process and making the system more accessible.
2.    We upgraded our Driver Learner Testing Centers (DLTCs) and we formalized and regulated the driving school sector by introducing tight accreditation criteria for owners and managers, clearly-defined customer service standards and properly graded skills requirements for instructors with respect to the different categories of vehicle. We tightened the existing practical, theoretical and medical tests for the renewal of the Professional Driver’s Permit (PrDP).
3.    We further reviewed the operation of the entire vehicle testing system, both in terms of its ownership structure and in terms of the effectiveness of current manuals, regulatory procedures and monitoring systems.
4.    We ensured that Provinces implement the new Pedestrian Facility Guidelines and the new SA Road Safety and Speed Limits Manuals. 
5.    We also supported the commitment by provinces to carry out planned, continuous, multi-disciplinary upgrades of identified urban & rural hazardous locations with community participation via democratically structured road safety forums. 
6.    We also expanded the rural road upgrade/maintenance programmes nationwide supported by systematic funding of emergent construction SMMEs – while at the same time integrating safety training into the process of improving road quality and visibility.
7.    We introduced the 365 Days Road Safety Programme, which emphasizes the fact that road safety is an every-day commitment, and a shared responsibility.
8.    Through the RTMC, we have also introduced, NQF Level 6, 21st Century National Traffic Officers.
9.    We are currently in the process to have Traffic management services as an essential service available 24 hours seven days a week. 

We must commend the RTMC in terms of how they have embraced the role of lead agency and implemented its responsibilities of:
•    Determining norms and standards for road safety traffic personnel, 
•    Enhancing road safety research development, 
•    Implementing national road safety campaigns; and 
•    Increasing   private sector and civil society participation.

The Post-Crash Response has also enabled us to strengthen law enforcement tools, and in the process saved government from corruption and fraud.  As we all know the Road Accident Fund is mandated to identify the wrongdoer through a fault-based system to compensate road accident victims.  This has also assisted in developing partnerships that ensure effective and efficient utilization of resources. 

Recently we conducted a detailed analysis of road crash patterns in our county over the past five years (2018-2022). The analysis has shown that although we are making steady progress in reducing fatalities, we need to fast-track progress by intelligently deploying our law enforcement, conducting safety education communication campaigns at identified hotspots and at times when crashes are likely to happen.

We may not be where we want to be, but we are no longer where were before the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety started. Our National Road Safety Strategy is showing some progress.

ROAD SAFETY PLANS FOR THIS 2023/24 FESTIVE SEASON CAMPAIGN
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Department of Transport, together with provincial and municipal traffic departments, transport agencies such as the Road Traffic Management Corporation, the Road Traffic Infringement Agency, the Cross-Border Road Traffic Agency, the South African Police Service will once again go out to make the roads safer. 

Support from our interfaith community and partners from the private sector, the non-governmental sector and committed motorists will inspire and guide our law enforcers to protect and serve our travelling communities during the forthcoming festive season.

Over this period, we are deploying personnel and technologies across the country, especially in high-risk accident-prone areas to prevent incidents and accidents by ensuring all road users interact safely with the road. The different traffic entities and the police, our enforcers present here today are ready to ensure safety on our roads.

Our road safety practitioners have also been mobilised and ready to go out to the malls, train stations, taxi ranks and petrol stations to do road safety education and awareness in collaboration with private sector partners and other departments such as the Department of Health, emergency services, Home Affairs and others.

We start the festive season, inspired by the achievement recorded last year which showed that road traffic crashes decreased during the six weeks of the festive season. 
Last year crashes dropped by seven (7) percent from one thousand three hundred and ninety-five (1395) crashes to one thousand two hundred and ninety-nine (1 299).  On the other hand, fatalities decreased from one thousand eight hundred and eight (1 808) to one thousand five hundred and sixty (1 560).

However, these figures will always remain a tip of the iceberg as our intentions are to have halve these number of car crashes and fatalities by 2030 as is the global target set by the United Nations. We will therefore not lower our guard this festive season. 

It is for this reason that we have given each province a target to achieve in this festive season to ensure that we can move our country on a solid trajectory towards the attainment of the 2030 target of halving road fatalities. Therefore, everyone is called upon to put shoulders to the wheel to ensure a better outcome this season and throughout our 365 Day Road Safety Campaign.

It is against the backdrop that we will be intensifying our efforts and interventions in the five province that contribute more than 80% of road crashes and fatalities. The following provinces which are Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal, Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalnga will receive focused attention this year with night time deployment of traffic officers and road safety activations that are intended to improve pedestrian safety.

Our interventions will be based on a six-point strategy that will guide all provinces in their operations this year. The strategy calls for interventions to deal with pedestrian safety, vehicle roadworthiness, public transport overloading, drunken driving, speeding and execution of warrants. 

Special instructions have been issued for all provincial authorities to conduct public transport inspections of buses and taxis at ranks before they join the freeways, weighbridges to remain open, malayshas to be guided to weighbridges to ensure height and load compliance.

Heightened operations are to be undertaken from Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Corridor operations will be undertaken during peak travel periods linking at provinces that share borders. Twenty-Four routes which have recorded a high number of crashes and fatalities in the past will be prioritised. These include:
R573 (Moloto Road) in Mpumalanga; R71 in Mankweng Limpopo; N2 Idutywa in Eastern Cape; N2 Mount Ayliff in Eastern Cape; N1 Naboomspruit in Limpopo; R61 Mbizana in Eastern Cape; N1 Mokopane in Limpopo; Ventersdorp road in North West; R61 in Mthatha Eastern Cape; N2 Pongola in KwaZulu Natal; R61 Mzamba in Eastern Cape; N1 Musina in Limpopo; N2 Mount Frere in Eastern Cape; N4 Middelburg in Mpumalanga; N1 Laingsburg in Western Cape; N2 Port Shepstone in KwaZulu Natal; N1 Makhado in Limpopo; N2 Libode in Eastern Cape; R61 Libode in Eastern Cape; N4 Nelspruit in Mpumalanga; Francie Van Zyl road in Parow Western Cape; N3 Harrismith in Free State; M35 Folweni in Kwazulu Natal and ; N2 Mthatha in Eastern Cape.

Ladies and gentlemen, 
One of the critical interventions that we must implement this year to improve compliance on the roads is to deal with motorists who drive without numbe-rplates. 
This is generally done by speedsters and people who want to avoid detection by speed cameras. This is defeating the ends of justice, and such vehicles will be stopped and impounded until plates are properly attached. 

We know that our borders have been very busy during the festive seasons in the past and the Cross-Border Road Transport Agency has geared itself to ensure that vehicles coming into and out of our country are compliant with all requirements. 

The following ports of entry will be monitored: Beitbridge in Limpopo, Lebombo in Mpumalanga, Ficksburg in Free State and Golela in KwaZulu Natal.

Our relentless commitment to deal with corruption and bribery continues over this period. Our own assessment tells us that corruption relating to the issuing of learner’s licenses and bribery increase around this time.  We warn officials and members of the public to desist from corrupt behaviour, which is a major damper to our efforts of maintaining safer roads. Our anti-corruption agents will be deployed and the instruction to them is to show no mercy and arrest both corruptor and corruptee.

RESPONSE ON CRIME COMMITTED ON OUR NATIONAL SANRAL ROADS

Fellow South Africans,
I must indicate that, our National Roads are critical strategic economic assets for this country. We cannot allow lawlessness to be the order of the day. The criminality that have been conducted on our National roads are treasonous. In the short to medium terms we are deploying our law enforcement on national roads. In the long-term, we are currently looking at making all our national road network to be smart roads. 

ANNOUNCEMENT: AVAILABILITY OF LONG-DISTANCE SHOSHOLOZA MEYL: MAINLINE RAIL PASSANGER SERVICES

Ladies and gentlemen,
It gives me immense pleasure to announce that this festive season, commuters will have a choice either to travel by road or rail as PRASA will resume the provision of long-distance rail passenger transport services, The PRASA Mainline Passenger Service (MLPS) supported by a number of fully integrated bus feeder services will be available on the following routes:

Gqeberha – Uitenhage:16 October 2023
East London – Berlin: 7 November 2023
Johannesburg – Cape Town: 6 December 2023
Johannesburg – Durban: 8 December 2023
Johannesburg – Musina: 8 December 2023
Johannesburg – Queenstown: 8 December 2023

WORLD REMEMBRANCE DAY
 

Ladies and gentlemen, 
As I indicated at the beginning of my speech that today we are not only launching the Festive Season Road Safety Campaign but we are also observing the World Remembrance Day for all road traffic victims. 
The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims was launched on 26th October 2005. The primary objective of commemoration of Siyabakhumbula is to amongst others:
To provide a platform for road traffic victims and their families to:
•    Remember their loved ones who perished or were seriously injured on the roads and to advocate for better support for road traffic victims and victim families;
•    To highlight the legal response to culpable road deaths and injuries and to advocate for an appropriately serious response;
•    We also converge to promote evidence-based actions to prevent and eventually stop further road traffic deaths and injuries.

Today, we are here, because we know that this is not a battle for government alone, but remains the responsibility of all of us to find a lasting solution to the carnage that has taken so many lives and maiming so many and robbing the country of its citizens and families of their beloved. 

Today we are gathered together with leaders and members of the Interfaith community and various transport stakeholders to pray for divine healing and strength for families of road traffic victims. We are here as a nation to say enough is enough, One life lost is indeed one too many. We are here to say, Remember, Support and Act. We are here to commit to being Safety Ambassadors and to abide and strictly follow all road safety rules. 

We remain indebted to the emergency services that have committed their whole lives to saving others in distress. We equally remain indebted to the law enforcement fraternity, who take risks to prevent incidents that pose a danger to lives, especially over these times when transgressions against law are rife and widespread.

Let us always pray that over this festive season we should not experience the carnage that has come to so shamefully define our roads. 

It is for that reason that for this year our theme is FIKA USAPHILA, let’s all ensure that we Arrive Alive by leaving no one behind.

I wish you and your families a safe and joyous festive season. Stay alive and obey the rules of the road. 

Thank you.
 

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