Reducing speed limit futile: Satawu

2011-09-21 20:34
Johannesburg - Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele's notion of reducing the maximum speed limit was a "futile idea" that would not make roads safer, a transport union said on Wednesday.

"We find it hard to believe that the minister has given this enough thought," said the SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) in a statement.

"Making public statements out of emotions is not a way to address South Africa's road safety challenges."

On Tuesday, Ndebele said he intended asking Cabinet to cut the maximum speed limit from 120km/h to 100km/h.

He said studies conducted in other countries such as Australia, where the speed limit is 110 km/h, indicated a reduction in the speed limit could save lives.

He was speaking after visiting the scene of a minibus accident on the N2, between Empangeni and Mtubatuba, in which 10 people died on Tuesday.

Satawu said comparing South Africa with other countries and other road conditions only clouded the matter.

Unique to SA

"Our road safety problems and transport issues are unique to us. A localised solution is required, one that addresses our conditions, our work habits and our transport needs," the union said.

"A simple reduction of the speed limit is not and will never be a solution to road accidents. What is needed is a holistic approach to issues of improving road safety."

The union said road safety could be better improved by strengthening law enforcement, providing reliable and safe public transport, maintaining existing roads and clamping down on corrupt officials.

KwaZulu-Natal Transport MEC Willies Mchunu strongly supported Ndebele's intentions.

"We as the government are forced to use any possible way to curb such accidents and to ensure that the citizens are safe at all times," he said in a statement.

In the last three months, KwaZulu-Natal had experienced a string of accidents.

Preliminary reports had shown there was a large increase in road deaths with a total of 1 087 from June 1 to date and a total of 535 crashes, said Mchunu.
- SAPA
Read more on:    satawu  |  sbu ndebele  |  transport
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