'Radebe road ruling a killer'
CALL FOR REVERSAL: Western Cape transport MEC Robin Carlisle has called on the National Department of Justice to reverse the shutdown of the province's Name and Shame campaign as it affect the rising death toll stats. Image: Wheels24
CAPE TOWN - Western Cape transport and public works MEC Robin Carlisle has voiced concern about the 'name and shame' campaign shutdown with "the consequences will be a matter of life or death".
Wheels24 reported earlier today (June 13) about the shocking demise of the campaign in the Western Cape by the national Department of Justice but since then Carlisle has responded on the consequences.
Carlisle says the province’s 'Safely Home' campaign, in partnership with LeadSA, named every person convicted between August 2010 and November 2012 of drinking and driving. He was furious that the justice department initially ordered the courts
to stop supplying the records then later ordered them to supply a
truncated record which excluded the offence and sentence of each culprit.
Carlisle says the move followed the successful challenge to the use of certain breath tests for drink-driving law enforcement, itself a serious blow to road safety in South Africa, "one which has undoubtedly cost many lives".
He said: “After several engagements with the justice department by me and by officials from the transport and public works department I wrote to justice minister Jeff Radebe (June 6, 2013) to insist that the order to shut down the campaign be reversed. The letter was copied to LeadSA heads Yusuf Abramjee and Chris Whitfield.
"Abramjee released the letter publicly via Twitter on June 12, hence the decision to address the media immediately on the issue.”
According to Carlisle, the 'Safely Home' campaign was vital to the achieving of a 30% decrease in road deaths in the Western Cape since 2009. The shame campaign, he believed, was a key component because it help to stigmatise drinking then driving and its effect were particularly apparent in arrest statistics; they fell from 60 a weekend to 25 and there had been a surge in the number of businesses providing 'get you home' services.
Early indications from morgue body counts indicated that drinking and driving had increased since the removal of the illegal breath-testers and the shutdown of the shame campaign.
The reasons given by justice were "administrative adjustments" which cited “legal compliance” as their goal but which appeared to serve no practical purpose other than to shut down an effective campaign road-safety campaign without an effective alternative.
According to Carlisle the Medical Research Council research indicated that more than 17 500 people were killed each year on SA roads (though more than 40% of that figure were walking at the time).
“The longer we remain without effective tools to combat drink driving the more lives will be lost,” he added.
National transport minister Ben Martins had said he would support measures employed by the government to curb the scourge of drunk driving and road deaths and Carlisle latched on to that by saying: “I hope this means I will have his full support on this matter. I urge Radebe and his colleagues in the national cabinet to start taking road safety seriously.
"His speedy response and action in restoring the shame campaign will mean the difference between life and death.”
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