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Our own death lust

2005-07-12 13:40

John Oxley

I must concede that he's certainly correct in his assumption, especially given South Africa's "open door" policy with regard to border entry - or should we say its "blind eye" policy - which would allow any potential terrorist to slip in and out at will.

But that's not the real problem here.

What I'm going to say next is probably going to shock you, but it's reality.

In London, the death of 50 people and injuries to another 700 in one day is a big issue, and rightly so. It's shocking, it's awful, it's downright criminal.

But in South Africa that statistic almost pales into insignificance.

I'm not talking here about deaths and injuries as a result of crime - hijacking, robbery, family murders - although that's a heart-rending statistic on its own.

I'm talking about the shocking death and injury toll we have on our roads, every day, not just at a particularly significant time.

Daily road deaths

According to the World Health Organisation's latest statistics on road deaths in South Africa, 36 people die EVERY DAY on our roads.

Most road deaths are among pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, says the report, but I believe an alarming number, as most of us may have observed, relate to accidents involving minibus taxis.

South Africa's REAL public transport system.

I must confess that I felt a little concerned when I saw our President, Thabo Mbeki, standing cheek by jowl just behind George Bush and Tony Blair when the latter spoke out about international terrorism last week.

Perhaps, I thought, those with death lust in their minds would tar South Africa with the same brush as the Americans and the British.

Then again, when I discussed it with friends, they were not really worried.


Although dreadful to the extreme, another 50 dead in one day in train or bus explosions would be a mere hiccup in our transport deaths statistics.

We kill more people each year on our roads than an army of terrorists - a battalion even - could achieve.

Think about it.


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