The MEC for Transport, Community Safety & Liaison: KwaZulu-Natal

Mr. Siboniso.Mbhele


Re: Road Carnage in KwaZulu-Natal is unacceptable/ Conduct of Taxi Drivers are a hazard

Congratulations on your appointment as the MEC of Transport, Community Safety & Liaison KwaZulu-Natal.

As we approach the end of the year and the start of the holiday season, we will be inundated with adverts from your department with regard to safety measures to be observed and precautions to be taken when driving on our province's roads.

These adverts, in my view, are futile and a waste of taxpayer money, going by historical data.

The spate of fatal crashes involving multiple fatalities in recent times in KwaZulu-Natal has to be a matter of very urgent concern to you and the National Ministry of Transport.

To even suggest that this is unacceptable and intolerable is an understatement.

It has become evident that the authorities, in many ways, have lost control of our roads in that measures that are currently in place - whatever they may be - are at the very least, ineffective and inadequate.

The multiple vehicle accident at the Marianhill Toll Plaza this week, amongst countless others, has highlighted the desperate need for desperate measures.

It is clear that in the recent years, the volume of vehicular traffic has increased on our roads and this impacts on the potential of accidents occurring.

However, I believe there is insufficient or inadequate or even a don't-care-attitude from traffic law enforcement agencies to help curb the scourge that is prevalent on our roads.

Trucks and taxis, by and large, constitute a major threat to other road users, besides themselves, notwithstanding the problem of speed, drunken driving and a blatant abuse of road rules, and potentially unroadworthy vehicles.

Large trucks, especially the articulated version, very often are unchecked for their worthiness of being on the roads by unscrupulous operators who simply want their business done irrespective of the peril they place upon others.

Coupled with this, some drivers who are employed to drive these vehicles have very questionable abilities and experience to handle such juggernauts on the road resulting in fatal crashes that could well have been prevented.

The questions of taxis on our province's roads must also be addressed as a matter of critical urgency as well.

One only has to observe the conduct of these maniacs, weaving through traffic, driving on the wrong side of the road, overtaking on stretches of road that prohibits such action, driving in emergency lanes even if there is a real emergency ahead, thereby preventing responders from accessing the emergency sites, and in general, abusing other road users in their normal course of driving.

The matter is further exacerbated at peak hours, when these miscreants become desperate - even abusive and threatening to other road users - in "delivering their loads" to maximize profit, to be ready for the next one.

They are not only a maddening menace but are endangering innocent lives only for the pursuit of business and profit.

I caution you that the misconduct of these drivers increases the possibility of road rage that could lead to death in itself, and if not acted upon immediately by you and your ministry, then sooner rather than later you may have blood on your hands in a different form.

This MUST stop - the average citizen, wanting to get home after a long day's work must not be subjected to the selfishness of thuggish road users who become a law unto themselves.

I have observed traffic officers who laze blatantly in their vehicles even when serious transgressions occur right before them that could be hazardous to others - and they do absolutely nothing about it, as if the mantra "do we care" applies.

I challenge you to do an in-loco inspection with me at random on any day and you will see first-hand exactly what I mean.

Unless draconian measures are not implemented immediately, we will be filling the obituary columns every day with the names of innocent people who, by the irresponsibility of others, will have their lives snuffed out unnecessarily.

The clarion call is sounding everyday - the question remains: are you caring enough or responsible enough or even capable enough to see to the safety of the citizens as is beholden of the position and responsibility you hold?

I place you on terms to address this matter urgently and without haste and not waste money on cautions via ineffective adverts which are wholly ignored by the road hogs who care less about the lives they place at risk every minute they are on our roads.

Yours faithfully
Narendh Ganesh

Global Indian Correspondent - South Africa


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