Tshwane mayor Randall Williams urges motorists to be responsible this festive season
Pretoria - Executive Mayor Randall Williams yesterday encouraged motorists to maximise caution on the roads this festive season.
Williams was on the N1 near Carousel Plaza yesterday for the launch of the Tshwane Metro Police Department 2020/21 Festive Season Operation.
He stopped several vehicles for inspection and engaged with motorists and passengers who were starting their long-distance trips early in anticipation of traffic congestion this weekend and days ahead.
Williams said the ugly truth was that during last year’s festive season, 1 617 people were killed on South African roads.
While this was a decrease of 10% nationally compared to the previous year, the fatalities in Gauteng increased from 219 to 254.
He said that across the country, the main causes of fatal crashes over this period last year were pedestrians, single vehicles overturning, hit-and-runs and head-on collisions.
He said most people who died on the roads were pedestrians; these accounted for 40% of all fatalities, followed by passengers at 34% and drivers at 25%.
He said 86% of all incidents were attributable to human error, while incidents of hit-and-run increased by 17%, speeding 14% and reckless overtaking 10%.
Williams said although the official launch only took place yesterday, the actual work started some time ago because Tshwane was at the centre of the road network that took people across the country every festive season.
He said thousands of people normally traversed the roads that crossed the city around this time of the year. However, this year things would be different considering the lockdown and warnings of a potential resurgence of Covid-19 infections and transmission.
“I join the Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize and President Cyril Ramaphosa in urging residents to only travel and visit family when necessary.
“Do so responsibly and by regularly washing hands, wearing a mask that covers the nose and mouth in public, and maintaining a 2m physical distance.
“It has been a long and difficult year, and many people look forward to the coming holidays, but I urge residents to avoid large gatherings for the sake of their own safety and that of their families, loved ones and friends.
“We absolutely have to ensure economic recovery, but we cannot afford a resurgence in Covid-19 cases in the city or the country,” said Williams.
He said that many of the road incidents and fatalities were preventable, not only through direct police action, but primarily through motorists observing traffic laws and being more conscientious drivers.
He said: “According to The World Health Organization's Global Status Report on Road Safety released in December last year, 58% of road traffic deaths in SA involved alcohol, and the seatbelt wearing rate is as low as 38% for drivers and 31% for front-seated passengers.
“The Tshwane metro police department must be commended for the zero-tolerance approach it adopted during the past Easter and festive season operations, and for their proactive policing that led to the detection and prevention of more serious road traffic-related incidents.
“I trust that the zero-tolerance approach and proactive policing will again bear fruit during this year’s operations.
“Road safety starts with every person, whether a pedestrian or a driver using the roads in the city, and the work that the metro police do in this regard is but one component of ensuring residents are safe and feel safe as they move across Tshwane this festive season.”
MMC for Community Safety and Emergency Services Karen Meyer said she was always proud to see members from Tshwane metro police department and the emergency services out in full force.