MEC says ‘yes’ to lower speeds

2011-09-22 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Willies Mchunu supports Minister of Transport Sbu Ndebele’s call for the reduction of speed limit from 120km/h to 100km/h.

Ndebele made the call on Tuesday at the scene of a collision in which 10 people died, on the N2 between Empangeni and Mtubatuba in Zululand on Monday.

The minister said his ministry will request a review of the legislation governing speed limits on national highways because the carnage on South Africa’s roads has reached a crisis point.

Mchunu said, “This call by the minister came just after I had instructed the integrated traffic law enforcement committee to see if they can investigate possibilities, laws or legislation to reduce the speed limit on our roads.

“At this moment 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.

“This is why I fully support the minister’s call.”

Mchunu’s department said the number of fatalities has risen to 1 087 and the number of crashes to 535 since the beginning of June.

The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) said Ndebele is “ill-advised”.

“Changing the speed limit in this country will achieve nothing, but it will certainly put more money into the coffers of those who will exploit the opportunity to make money out of this,” said Satawu national spokesperson Mamokgethi Reagoikanya Molopyane.

The union criticised the minister for making emotional public statements to address South Africa’s road safety challenges.

Satawu is demanding a localised solution that addresses South Africa’s unique conditions, work habits and transport needs.

“Until a respect for traffic rules is inculcated in everyone, including ministers’ official cars, and traffic authorities become passionate about effective enforcement and saving lives, road accidents will continue to increase,” Molopyane said.

Mchunu said that in the past three months accidents on the province’s road have taken an unacceptable toll of lives of innocent people who are economically active and who are breadwinners.

Mchunu said the National Prosecuting Authority must move swiftly to charge drivers who kill innocent people.

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