KwaMhlanga: Mpumalanga Community Safety, Security and Liaison MEC Vusi Shongwe has promised to reduce road accidents in the province by 5% within six months.
Shongwe made the announcement during the launch of the Think Pedestrian project in KwaMhlanga recently.
“It’s my duty to make sure that road accidents in the province, especially [on the Moloto] road decrease by 5% at the end of this financial year,” said Shongwe. The MEC launched the project with deputy Roads and Transport Minister Sindi Chikunga.
The project was launched on the Moloto Road, or R573, because of its history of high fatalities. Road safety operations will be conducted on the road every Friday to make it safer. Police and traffic officers will conduct roadblocks and inspect nearby taverns to ensure they comply with their liquor licenses.
“We have already started the project and it is showing good results because those found not complying are being arrested on the spot and charged,” he said. He said pedestrians found drunk and walking on the road at night would be arrested and kept in custody until the following morning. “There are no specific charges for pedestrians but we arrest them and they are released the next morning.
“We will also as from now jointly work with the liquor board to find out how they gave liquor licenses to people operating near the schools, churches or on the road,” he said.
Chikunga said the World Health Organisation’s global assessment of road safety report shows that about 1.2 million people were involved in road accidents every year.
“In South Africa alone, about 14 000 people are involved in road accidents yearly. Out of that number, 1000 die every month, 280 die on weekends, 14 die on daily basis,” said Chikunga. Of the 14 000 who are involved in accidents every year 46 percent were pedestrians, while 54 percent were drivers and passengers.