Well, it had to happen. Your article on the 2nd of January, quoting the RTMC’s spokesperson claiming that road users failed South Africa in the country’s bid to half the road death toll, was most appropriate a response as any public servant passing the buck. Of course road users have failed South Africa. It was our sinister plan after all, get ourselves killed on the roads, and blame that thick-skinned government, who stares down criticism like a prized heavyweight. Naturally, it was us all along that insisted that trapping road users in a 60km/h zone doing 80km/h was a real feather in our cap. Like everything else that our trusted government exploits, we the citizens that make up that government allows the traffic department to punish the unsuspecting modern-vehicle driver. Never mind all the 21st century the airbags, braking systems and roll bars, when the stressed out road user absentmindedly ventures over the 60km/h red-line, those 1970’s era laws will automatically shake him down. No one cares if those laws were drafted when cars were just a heap of metal held together with paperclips and shoddy brakes.
It is us, this forward thinking public who helplessly drive by so that the system of trapping via cameras is regarded as the best method to stop the speeding madman. But in our haste help the government milk more money…oops, make our point, we must forget stopping the lunatic who passes our trusted traffic officers at 111km/h in a 100km/h zone. After all, if we did stop him, how much more money would our civil servants loose….oops, sorry, how many more drivers would get away. No need to make sure the cameras are up to standard, or that extenuating circumstances may cause his lapse in concentration, we all know this is a numbers game, so let’s threaten that vast majourity with arrest if they refuse to pay the inflated fines, a number that most matrics from Mpumalanga could never score. Naturally it is us, the failed South Africans, who insisted the best method was to trap only on that part of the road that we have enacted to be an 80km/h zone, when it was once a 100km/h zone. We must have really felt the need to teach that 80 percent of our failed hard working road users to obey, or face a penalty that would make Hitler proud.
It is our very own failed South Africans who decided to allow our many traffic officers to assemble at lunchtime near the Nando’s franchise blatantly stopping anyone without that life saving seat belt in bumper to bumper traffic. It was us who bought into those idol threats, from those fine upstanding man in uniform…or alternatively engage in a little backseat bribery to avoid the full might of these draconian laws in our land. It is these selfless actions that have made our traffic police grow exponentially, and is the fodder that feeds our nations pride. For corruption is only rife when it is deplorable, not when it’s the norm of our proudly South African lifestyle.
It is we who swallowed the myth that speed ‘alone’ kills. And it is us who ignored the signs that poor traffic management, and poor quality roads play no part. It is us who refused to accept this excuse for road-rage, for it is us who believes that speed alone should be punished, and rewarded, depending if you’re in front of the traffic camera or behind it. It is these failed South African road users who decided that being a taxi driver with a spanner as a steering wheel, and a R50.00 for a contribution, will qualify to take the road less travelled along the yellow line down life’s peak hour traffic jam. It was after all, us who concluded that that driving erratically, drunk, and aggressively, even if you’re not a taxi driver, you cannot possibly face the law if you do not cross the 60km/h red line. After all, our arrogant officers in new Mercedes Benz are too busy accumulating after the lunch hour racketeering pit-stop, comparing notes over a full size chicken. And their harder working colleges are too busy taking our pictures at hot spots across the country to get into gear and stop any suspected, dangerous or erratic drivers.
Naturally, it is we, the people of South Africa who should be to blame when we allow all this to happen on a daily basis. So when the RTMC naturally blames me, the failed South African, I say why not? After all, it is us who ignored the good fight, when we have the means to fight at our very fingertips day by day. It is us who are lost in the information highway, then end up paying these prices on the pot-holed highway home. For if only we could direct ourselves to a place of common purpose, call it a website, a blog, whatever, how much more could we achieve so that we do not fail our fellow men, dying on the roads while those entrusted to enact the best methods and implement the most viable solutions, are choosing to milk the frustrated road user, then conveniently blame the victims.