Johannesburg - Transport Minister Dipuo Peters admitted on Friday that government road safety campaigns were ultimately ineffective.
“It is common cause that Christmas and Easter seasons have the highest number of fatalities than most periods put together,” said Peters during a press briefing at OR Tambo International Airport on Friday where she called for the nation to pray for safer roads.
She said prayer and “God’s hands of mercy” were necessary because the government’s messages were not yielding the desired results in reducing the number of accidents on the country’s roads.
“We need to reach our to our huge constituencies in every community and in every church. Through churches, temples, synagogues, mosques and other places of worship where the people of God gather in prayer and supplications, messages on road safety must be propagated.
“It is of great concern to us that our education and enforcement messages fall short of reaching every road user. We believe more can and needs to be done to wrestle the monstrous carnage on our roads,” Peters said.
Road accidents are one of the main causes of death in the country and it is estimated there are 40 road-related deaths a day. “Looking at statistics from December 1... we realise that we are still seriously challenged and required to raise more voices to reach out to our South African community,” Peters told the media.
Half of road accidents involve pedestrians and it is estimated road accidents cost the country more than R3 billion annually.
Peters said all 600 fatal accidents thus far could be related to four causes – all involving human error: dangerous and illegal overtaking, driver fatigue, drinking and driving and speeding.
“It is enough. We cannot continue losing the lives of South Africans on the roads. It is costly, it is painful and it kills the economy,” Peters said.
Peters lit a candle on Friday to “remember those whose lives were lost on our roads” and to “light the way for all of us during our journeys to various destinations”.
Tshwane Metro Police Department spokesman Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba told Pretoria News the metro would intensify their efforts to reduce road accidents locally over the festive seaon.
“Our focus will be on drunken driving, driver fitness and vehicle roadworthiness in all seven regions of Tshwane daily,” Mahamba said. Their focus will be on these highways and each region of the city will have two to three random roadblocks every week.
In Gauteng the points with the highest traffic volumes include the N4 North towards Hammanskraal, the N1 highway at Phumulani Plaza, the N4 East Diamond Hill towards Emalahleni (Witbank), the N4 West Doornpoort towards Brits, Moloto road and R101 (Old Warmbaths Road).
Yesterday the Tshwane Metro Police and Gauteng Traffic Police set up a roadblock on the Moloto road, stopping hundreds of motorists as they left the city.
Pretoria News Weekend