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Road slaughter: Facts please, Peters

2014-01-10 09:19

TRANSPORT MINISTER CASTS LIGHT: Dipuo Peters says road deaths are avoidable but there is work to be done. Image Department of Transport

Pretoria - National transport minister Dipuo Peters has listed the same old reasons for yet another horrendous road-death toll over what is supposed to be "the festive season" but yet again is really just a time for national mourning.

In her "report back" on the roads situation she blamed drunk driving, speeding, reckless overtaking, driver fatigue, non-use of seat belts, unroadworthy vehicles and unlicensed or illegally licensed drivers. Peters also issued this platitude from her ministry: "May 2014 be the year we turn the corner on road carnage and ensure that we drive with the right documents. Nobody will drive with what he or she (just) thinks is the right document."

PRIVATE PIRATE TAXIS

A preliminary tally for the 2013/14 road death tally - with this weekend still to go - is 1376 men, women and children slaughter on South Africa’s roads. What Peters apparently failed to mention was that 60% of the dead were pedestrians; the official list also doesn't list how these unfortunates died: how many were in taxis and buses, on bicycles and motorcycles, being driven in private pirate unlicensed and therefore uninsured "taxis".

Peters said: "There is only one [licence] issued by the transport department. We are in control over that and if you are reckless, we are going to withdraw your driver's licence." (Right, that's really going to scare the licence forgers and those who use their products. - Editor)

‘SCARY NUMBERS’

A total of 1376 people were killed in 1147 incidents between December 1 2013 and January 7 2014, she said, releasing the preliminary 2013/14 tally. There were 1558 deaths and 1247 incidents in 2012/13.

Peters dismissed criticism that the release of Thursday's figures was premature; the Democratic Alliance had said the true total would only apply after this weekend during which many people would be driving home from their holiday.

Peters said: "I am not going to respond to those who are sitting outside and barking when people are losing their lives. In fact, what we need to do is to capture [numbers] every day and notify South Africans on how many people are dying on our roads."  (Perhaps Peters should note that the DA-run Western Cape is the only province in the country in which road-death numbers are declining and be big enough to ask for advice. - Editor)

However, she goes on: "For me, I am not going to be bothered about what other parties are saying. We are governing South Africa on behalf of the people. Those who say we shouldn't have released the statistics, they can continue speaking, we have work to do."

THE STATS SO FAR:
Gauteng: 223 incidents / 268 dead
kwaZulu-Natal: 237 incidents / 284 dead (the worst total)
Limpopo: 112 incidents / 134 dead
Eastern Cape: 158 incidents / 190 dead
Free State: 101 incidents / 121 dead
Western Cape: 95 incidents / 114 dead
North West: 73 incidents/ 88 dead
Mpumalanga: 112 incidents / 134 dead
Northern Cape: 36 incidents / 43 dead
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