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'Easter 2017 road carnage horrific, but not unexpected' - JPSA

2017-04-21 14:38

EASTER CARNAGE: The Easter road death toll has increased by 51% instead of declining on last year's figures as expected.Image: Phillip Hull

Cape Town - Earlier on Friday (April 21), News242 reported Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi had announced that 235 people died on South African roads over the 2017 Easter holidays.

He said this was a 51% increase over last year's figure of 156.

2017 Easter death toll: 235

Maswanganyi announced the preliminary statistics at the GCIS head office in Pretoria.

READ: Easter road death toll increases by 51%

Maswanganyi asked all in attendance at the briefing to stand up for a moment of silence for those who lost their lives over the period.

Easter saw tens of thousands of South Africans taking to the roads for holiday and religious pilgrimages.

However, the period is usually marked by carnage on the country’s roads and a high death toll.

READ: Easter blitz: WCape to clampdown on 'senseless crashes'

Justice Project South Africa has noted with sincere regret but little surprise; the horrific 51% increase in this year’s Easter Road fatalities reported by Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi this morning. This comes after announcements by the RTMC just before the Easter long weekend where it asserted that it had targeted a 50% decrease in fatalities over 2016.

JPSA national chairman, Howard Dembovsky, says: "Regrettably, it has once again been proven beyond any reasonable doubt that road safety is not a light switch that can be turned on an off.

"Yet, it is clear that the Department of Transport, RTMC and all road traffic law enforcement authorities continue to choose to ignore this fact and, instead of consistently and visibly enforcing moving violations all year round, continue to put on “shows of strength” during holiday periods, which methodology has repeatedly proven itself to be ineffective.

"The assertion by Minister Maswanganyi that “South Africa is not a Police State and therefore cannot deploy traffic officers everywhere” is simply nonsensical, more especially in light of the fact that it is a worldwide phenomenon that road users will behave as badly as the authorities allow them to behave and each time that a road user “gets away” with disobeying the rules of the road and other provisions of traffic law, the habitual nature of this negative behaviour is strengthened."

Dembovsky continues: "Interestingly however, the Minister and RTMC choose to assert in the same breath that persons accused of serious road traffic offences should be denied police bail through scheduling (not rescheduling as asserted) such offences as Schedule 5 offences in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act."

"Until such time as road traffic law enforcement becomes about road safety and not generating revenue, nothing can be reasonably expected to change and denying accused persons police bail is not the answer. Proper, effective prosecution and consequences upon conviction is.

"Furthermore, such convictions should not take years to achieve since justice needs to be swift and seen to be done in order to begin to address the situation and have the effect of acting as an effective deterrent to other would-be offenders."


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