Soshanguve residents lay wreaths and light candles to remember lives lost to road accidents on the Mabopane Highway. Picture: Phill Magakoe / Independent Media.

Pretoria - Dozens of Soshanguve community members gathered on the Mabopane Highway (R80) on Thursday to pray for the safety of motorists and users of the accident-plagued road.

They laid wreaths, lit candles and held hands as they prayed for reduced accident rates during the upcoming festive season. A staggering 219 accidents occurred on the road since January, claiming one life.

Tshwane MMC for roads and transport Sheila Lynn Senkubuge said the objective was to bring spiritual intervention to the R80 in order to prevent further fatalities as a result of accidents.

“Between January and November, we have had 219 accidents on this road and some of them have been fatal. As a result of this, the community of Soshanguve and other stakeholders decided to have a spiritual intervention ahead of the festive season,” Senkugube said.

Authorities were expecting the number of accidents to increase during the holiday season.

John Molepo, one of organisers of the event, said the community was saddened by the tragedies that happened this year on the Mabopane Highway.

He said one of the worrying contributors to the high levels of accidents was the behaviour and attitude of motorists. “We can try to manage the behaviour of society. We are facing the festive seasons where you find our friends drinking and driving and becoming impatient on the road and disobeying road rules.

“Maybe we need to get spiritual intervention in order to change our behaviour,” Molepo said.

He said communities were also pleading for street lights along the road. “The community wants street lights on the highway and is asking MMC to tell metro police officers we also need high visibility,” he said.

Vuyisile Jaca, who spoke on behalf of the taxi associations, appealed to authorities to intervene. “We need authorities and the community to help. We have taken an endeavour as taxi operators to put patrollers on the road,” Jaca said.

“We believe we can’t do it alone and need spiritual people to come and pray.”

Pastor Daniel Mogotlane, from Hope Glory Ministries, said communities needed to have an introspection to remedy the problem they were facing.

“This prayer intervention is to create awareness and provoke introspection. Let us introspect ourselves and ask why there are so many accidents on our roads,” he said.

Pretoria News