ROAD-SAFETY ADVOCATE: Arrive Alive has been advocating road safety advice and running campaigns, such as the one pictured here, for 13 years. Image: Arrive Alive
Cape Town - On Thursday, News24 reported that the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) cannot use the Arrive Alive campaign as it has been registered as a brand.
RTMC spokesperson Simon Zwane told News24 on Thursday that it replaced the Arrive Alive campaign with its 365 Days of Road Safety Programme. Zwane said Arrive Alive was registered as a brand earlier in 2015.
The statement by RTMC came as a shock to Arrive Alive and the Justice Project South Africa (JPSA). Both groups have responded...
Arrive Alive responds:
Johan Jonck, editor of Arrive Alive, said: "It is not strange that the RTMC is not ‘using’ the Arrive Alive brand - RTMC previously launched its own 'Get here No Regrets Campaign' in 2012. Only they can account for the taxpayers' money spent on that campaign and the success or failure of it, which for some reason was stopped again at the end of 2014.
"What cannot be explained however is the need for the RTMC to register a trademark of something to which the Department of Transport should be the 'bona fide proprietor' and then to say the RTMC may not use the brand cause it is 'copyrighted'.
"We have worked tirelessly since the launch of the Arrive Alive website in 2003 on instilling the message to Arrive Alive in the minds of the South African road user and done our best to use social media to this effect. This has been done to Support the Arrive Alive Campaign by the Department of Transport started as early as 1998.
Arrive Alive registration trademark
"Especially at this time of year we do not wish to argue and point blame as the focus needs to be on creating more informed road users by using all available platforms to distribute road safety messages to a wider audience. The families of all those who have died in road crashes deserve that those with the power to do so do everything in their power to make our roads safer."
Road-trip dilemmas: 8 top safety tips
It appears nobody told president Jacob Zuma:
Recent announcements that the Arrive Alive campaign has been ditched have culminated in the RTMC justifying this move by saying “the Road Traffic Management Corporation cannot use the Arrive Alive campaign anymore, as it has been registered as a brand,” reports JPSA.
This is rather interesting, says JPSA, given the fact that a search of registered trademarks through the CIPC website has revealed that it was none other than the RTMC who applied to trademark the Arrive Alive logo under the trademark number 2014/10100. This was apparently applied for on April 16 2014, accepted on August 24 2015 and advertised on October 28 2015.
Planning an SA road trip? 20 vehicle checks you must do!
Confusion at the RTMC
JPSA national chairman, Howard Dembovsky, says: "Apart from that of the RTMC, no other registration applications to trademark 'Arrive Alive' appear to have been made.
"In the same article, Zwane claimed that 2015’s festive season campaigns had been running since November 26, but it would appear that he is confusing a road safety campaign with the National Rolling Enforcement Programme (NREP) system of prolific countrywide roadblocks which is traditionally launched for the festive season in November of every year.
"There is more to conducting a proper and effective road safety campaign than calling it the '365 Days of Road Safety Programme' which Zwane says has replaced the Arrive Alive campaign."
Dembovsky adds: "Whilst it is most certainly true that road safety should be a 365 days a year initiative, the so-called 'new campaign' doesn’t even have a website, let alone appear to have gained much exposure."
"The RTMC’s other failed road safety campaign introduced in 2012, called 'Get There – No Regrets' was canned in November 2014, says the JPSA. Since then, its Twitter account has done nothing other than send out an automated weekly application tweet 'How I did on Twitter this week' to its now 2112 followers."
Why isn't Arrive Alive working with RTMC?
Dembovsky says: "In the meantime, Advocate Johan Jonck’s privately run and funded arrivealive.co.za website, for which no funding whatsoever is provided by government and the @_ArriveAlive Twitter account have been issuing prolific daily road safety messages as they have done for more than 13 years now.
"Just why it is that the RTMC and government have actively chosen not to work with and assist this private initiative is beyond reason, especially in light of the fact that the @_ArriveAlive Twitter account has more than 64 000 followers and arrivealive.co.za is about to hit 1 million unique visitors for 2015.
"What’s even more puzzling and exceedingly sad is how the National Department of Transport could have openly acknowledged the importance of the Arrive Alive website in 2007 but now seems hell-bent on shutting it down, or at the very least, deflecting attention away from it, even if that means sneakily applying for a trademark and then misleading the media and the public about its knowledge of who applied for that 'branding'."
Going on holiday in SA? Here's your definitive vehicle checklist