Ndebele urges SAfricans to take responsibility on roads

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pretoria - Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele has called on all South Africans to take more responsibility for their safety on the country's roads.

"Road safety is everybody's responsibility and therefore we must all become more responsible road users. Every one must become part of the movement to create a safer road environment for all our people," said the minister, ahead of World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims which is marked on Sunday.

He said Africa had the most dangerous roads in the world.

"Unless we do something drastic about road crashes, by 2020 more people will die as a result of road crashes compared to those who die from HIV and AIDS and Malaria combined," said Ndebele.

The Global Status Report on Road Safety in Africa indicates that 62 percent of the reported road crashes occur in 10 countries. One of these is South Africa where vehicle crashes cost the South African economy approximately R56 billion in 2008.

The majority of reported crashes involve vulnerable road users such as pedestrians.

"Road Safety is a key priority of the South African government, but road safety is not only government's responsibility."

He said the department would continue to intensify its zero tolerance approach against traffic offenders and was committed to the implementation of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO).

AARTO seeks to create an efficient road traffic management environment in the country and enhance a culture of compliance through the point's demerit system.

"Those who do not obey the law must lose their licence," said the minister.

South Africa is expected to participate in the Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in Moscow on 19 and 20 November. In July, South Africa was represented at Africa's Decade of Action for Road Safety Conference in Tanzania.