Statement By Minister Nzimande on the Release of the Preliminary Easter 2019 Road Safety Report

02 May 2019 | From Arrive Alive

02 May 2019

Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Ms Sizakele Nkosi Malobane;

Western Cape MEC for Transport and Public Works, Mr Donald Grant;

RTMC Board Chairman, Mr Zola Majavu;

Members of the RTMC Board and other Boards present;

Acting Director General, Mr Chris Hlabisa;

Acting Deputy Director General for Roads, Mr Prasanth Mohan;

RTMC CEO, Advocate Makhosini Msibi;

CEOs of other Transport Entities;

Head of Departments;

Leadership of SAPS;

Traffic Chiefs;

Officials from other spheres of government and Entities;

Members of the Media;

Distinguished guests;

Ladies and gentlemen,

We have come together, a day after the commemoration of the International Workers Day, popularly known as May Day, which is the day that we, amongst other things, celebrate the role played by workers, their trade Unions, the Communist Party and other labour movements in the struggle against Apartheid. 

Today, as we officially release the 2019 Easter-Road Safety report, let us all remember the impact of road carnages to the poor and the working class as they are that section of society  that are affected disproportionately by road crashes more than any other group. 

Our 2019, Easter road safety campaign, was held under the theme “Arrive Alive”. 

As we all know, the Easter period is characterized by increased traffic volumes, with travels to work, leisure and pilgrims. 

It therefore makes sense that we align our road safety activations and law enforcement operations with the travelling patterns of the population. 

Consequently, our preliminary report covers the period 18 April to 22 April 2019.

In an effort to curb the road carnages, the law enforcement agencies came together and conducted operations and increased visibility on the roads. 

Amongst other offences, we targeted drunken driving, pedestrian behaviour, driver and vehicle fitness.

I am pleased to announce that the number of fatalities decreased by 48% from 309 in 2018 to 162 in 2019. This marks a decrease of one hundred and forty-seven (147) fatalities.  

However, government is still concerned even by a single loss of life on our roads.

All provinces recorded decreases in the number of fatalities. 

The highest decrease in absolute figures was recorded by Limpopo with 41 fatalities followed by KwaZulu Natal with 33 fatalities.

The fatalities as per provinces are as follows:

Gauteng – 16

KwaZulu Natal – 37

Western Cape – 18

Eastern Cape – 22

Free State – 4

Mpumalanga – 17

North West – 13

Limpopo – 32

Northern Cape – 3

This year, we recorded 128 crashes, which is a 46% decrease, as compared to the 238 crashes recorded in 2018.

The above indicates that there was a decrease of one hundred and ten (110) crashes in comparison with the previous Easter Period. 

I am also pleased to report that all provinces recorded decreases in the number of crashes. I congratulate all the MECs for their dedication to the implementation of our road safety strategy and plans.

The province that recorded the highest decreases in absolute figures is Limpopo with 27 crashes followed by KwaZulu Natal with 21 crashes.

In relation to the major crashes, there were five (5) crashes recorded which resulted into forty-one (41) fatalities and twenty-eight (28) serious injuries.  

We are encouraged by the behaviour of the majority of motorists and all road users, who showed willingness to obey the rules of the road.

On behalf of the Government of South Africa, I would like to send our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who died on our roads and wish those who were injured a speedy recovery at home or in hospital. 

Government immediately activated the Road Accident Fund to provide the necessary support and comfort to the affected families.

To date, we have issued 84 funeral support activations at an average R22 200 cost per funeral.   To this extend, we have spent a total of 1.9 Million from the 1st of April 2019. 

Beyond the funeral services, the RAF will still be there to ensure that post-crash care support is provided for both the injured and families of the deceased where appropriate.

Ladies and gentlemen,  

The total number of registered vehicles from 31 March 2018 to 31 March 2019 increased by 248 354 (2.02%) from 12 293 212 to 12 541 566 vehicles. 

A total number of vehicles stopped for Easter Period 2019 was 177 182, an increase of about 27 079 compared to the previous year where 150 103 vehicles were stopped. 

In 2019, we stopped 161 784 vehicles as compared to 109 771 in 2018.

Over and above notices issued, a total of 1 343 arrests were effected in 2019, as compared to 1 598 in 2018. 

Eight hundred and seven (807) drivers were arrested for drunken driving. The highest alcohol readings were reported in Gauteng where the main offender tested a reading of 2.64mg/ 1000ml, followed by Western Cape with the reading of .30mg/1000ml, followed by Limpopo with the reading of 1.9mg/1000ml and Mpumalanga with the reading of 0.92mg/1000ml.

To continue to clamp down on offences on our roads, 192 drivers were arrested for speeding. The province with the highest speed recorded was Gauteng at 203 km/h, followed by Western Cape at 202 Km/h, then Gauteng again at 197km/h, followed by the Free State at 183km/h.

A passenger was arrested in Brooklyn – Pretoria, for offering R200 bribery to traffic officers who were arresting his brother for being above the alcohol limit. The passenger offered a bribery while the officers were explaining the reading to the driver. 

We intend to be harsher with law enforcement officers who take bribes, as this undermines all our efforts in curbing road crashes, injuries and fatalities, and tarnish the image of the good law enforcement officers.

Again, in Mpumalanga at Matsulu, the National Public Order Police member (NPOP) was charged with negligent handling of an official firearm which the National Traffic Police officers found it lying under his car seat. 

Our law enforcement officers were on alert and arrested 139 drivers who were driving without operating permits; 29 without drivers’ licenses, 22 with false documentation and 79 with warrants of arrest, 25 for reckless and negligent driving.

These arrests and offences issued were as a result of joint operations conducted between provincial authorities, SAPS and all other stakeholders involved in the operations of law enforcement.

The period was characterised by the following major incidents, which were recorded as from the 18 April to 22 April 2019. 

-      Three (3) major crashes reported and investigated which contributed to twenty-three (23) fatalities and eight (8) serious injuries.  Ten (10) of these crashes took place in Limpopo, five (5) in KwaZulu Natal and eight (8) in the Western Cape.

The preliminary report shows that the main contributory factors to road crashes are related to human behavior, particularly recklessness. 

In 2019, human factor contributed 91% to the crashes, a decrease of 3% as compared to the 91.3% in 2018.

The roads and environmental factors as causes of crashes increased by 1.7% from 5.5% in 2018 to 7.2% in 2019.

Tyre burst is the major contributor to road crashes. In 2019, tyre burst increased astronomically by 100%, as compared to 82% in 2018. This translates to an increase of 18% of tyre burst related incidents during the 2019 Easter Period. 

Male drivers contributed 72% in crashes, which is a 10% increase from the 62% in 2018. 

Female drivers recorded 15% in road crashes, a decrease of 9%, as compared to 24% in 2018.

During the period under review, pedestrians accounted for 24% in crashes, which is a decrease of 6% from 30% in 2018. 

Crashes relating to passengers decreased to 36.8% in 2019, from 38.6% in 2018. 

Single vehicle overturns contributed 24%, an increase of 3% as compared to 21% in 2018.

The vehicle types that contributed the highest to crashes were motorcars and light Delivery Vehicles (LDV’s). However, motor vehicles recorded a decrease of 17% points from 47% in 2018 to 30% in 2019. 

The light delivery vehicles also decreased from 22% in 2018 to 13% in 2019. The Minibus taxis contributed 6% of the crashes.

Further analysis indicated that Easter Friday, contributed (24%), Saturday, contributed (30%) and Sunday, contributed (21) of crashes. 

Our report depicts that in 2019, the time of day were the highest crashes occurred is 18:00 to 19:00. 

There was also a significant increase observed between 15:00 to 16:00 and 19:00 to 20:00 respectively.

Ladies and gentlemen,

South Africa subscribes to the modern global approach to road safety, known as the safe systems approach, it recognizes that we can best achieve our objectives to reduce fatalities by integrating safer roads, safer vehicles, more effective post-crash responses and sustained education and awareness campaigns. 

There are a number of interventions that the Department of Transport implemented in order to achievement reduced number of crashes and fatalities on our roads. We now intend to heighten focus on road safety as a 365 day and 24/7 activity in order to confront the scourge of road fatalities and injuries.

We have embraced disruptive innovative and technological methods presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Amongst these measures, we will be focusing on the following:

1.    Continue to implement the Evidentiary Breathalyser Alcohol Testing (EBAT);

2.   The 24/7 shift has now started. Provinces are urged to plan their three shift for their maximum output to further reducing crashes;

3.   Through the South African National Road Agency (SANRAL), we developed innovate interventions in some of the hazardous locations were most of speeding, overloading and unsafe driver behavior persist;

4.   We will continuously make road surfaces safer through engineering solutions and interventions, both in the construction of new road projects and into the upgrading and rehabilitation of existing roads;

5.   Working with tyre manufacturing companies, vehicle manufacturers, NGOs and research institutions we remain committed to work with the tyre manufacturing industry of South Africa, including a heightened focus on the illegal tyre industry.

6.   We will also intensify work towards collating a database for foreign issued drivers’ licenses and foreign registered vehicles within the boundaries of SA; and strengthening co-operation on road transport within the SADC region.

7.   We will continue to work with the Department of the Department of Basic Education to encourage Matric learners to obtain their driving licences. By so doing we will be generating a new cadre of competent drivers.

8.   Following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s signing of the AARTO Amendment Bill into law, we will immediately introduce the Points Demerit System. This system will allow us to identify, rehabilitate and ultimately eliminate habitual offenders found on our road transport network; 

9.    Working together with the National Anti-Corruption Unit and the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations, we will continue to arrest traffic officers who instead of issuing fines for traffic violations, demand gratification or bribes from motorists;

10. We will continue to crackdown of corruption and the fraudulent issuing of driving licenses and roadworthy certificates; and 

11. The re-classification of the more serious road traffic offences like drunken driving to Schedule 5 of the Criminal Procedure Act will continue to receive high priority in our endeavour and quest for a mandatory minimum sentence for 'drunken driving, inconsiderate, reckless and negligent driving.

13. The national Department of Transport will start in earnest to work towards a single, national database for all traffic offences, in order to facilitate traffic law enforcement generally, and particularly for purposes of the implementation of the points demerit system.

I want to categorically state that improving safety is not the responsibility of Government alone. Road safety is everyone’s responsibility. 

So, I call upon all south Africans to take responsibility when using our roads.

As I conclude, I want to say that as South Africans collectively and severally, we fought a good fight, did our very best, and triumphed over adversity posed by road crashes and fatalities.

Although we have significantly reduced our crashes and fatalities on our roads, we can still do more to eradicate this calamity on our roads because one death is too many.

Let me take this moment commend the MECs, Mayors, SALGA, traffic law enforcement officers, members of the South African Police, emergency medical service, doctors and nurses who maintained high levels of visibility on the roads throughout the period.

A word of gratitude also goes to all the fraternal organisations who undertook various campaigns to raise awareness about road safety across the Country. 

This includes the youth, faith-based organisations and organisations of people living with disabilities, Taxi Industry, Bus Industry, Coca Cola, Drive Dry, Brand SA, SAB, Our Sister Departments, Lifeline Outreach programme, Vodacom, Total Garage and Sasol Garage.

Let me also thank the media for their role in promoting and publicising our road safety initiatives, and ensuring that everyone in the country is aware of their responsibility. 

We look forward to a continued and improved relationship even further with all the organisations.

Lastly, I call upon all of you to go out in numbers to exercise your democratic rights by voting on the 08th May 2019. Remember always that our freedom was not free. 

It was sealed by the blood of many freedom fighters on our liberation movement. So, it is important that we value their contribution by casting our vote in support of our democracy.

I thank you

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