We all killed Burry Stander

2013-01-08 09:25

David Moseley

I didn't know Burry Stander. I'd spoken to him a few times and met him at mountain bike events around the country. What a top man. What a champion. What a sweet fellow. What a loss.

Sadly, with news that over 1 300 people died on the roads this festive season, he's become another statistic. And not the one that we all expected at this year's Absa Cape Epic or at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

For all the finger-wagging and moralising, though, Stander's death - along with the other 1 300-plus needless deaths on the roads - should cause a nation to become deeply introspective and increasingly worried about what’s happening on our roads.

In reality, nothing will change. We're all responsible for Stander's death. We're all to blame for the other 1300 deaths. It's not just taxis. It's not just "them". It's everyone. You. Me. CEOs. Lowly interns. Varsity students. Suburban moms. Everyone.

There are no rules on South Africa's roads. None. It's a do-as-you-please motor vehicle melee, a freewheeling fun ride for every person who gets behind the wheel of a car. I don't think I'm far off when I say that every single motorist in this country breaks a traffic law every single time they get into their cars. Myself included.

Our arrogance, egos, impatience, ill manners and total disregard for the lives of others on the road all contributed to Stander's death as much as the man sitting at the wheel of the car that killed him.

Just this weekend I was pushed off the road - the N2, while doing 130km/h (10km over the speed limit, you'll notice) - by some fools driving so closely behind me that I could see nose hairs ruffle as impatient nostrils flared at my temerity to vaguely obey the speed limit.

Stand at a set of traffic lights. As they turn red, immediately step into the road to cross. You know what? You're now dead. While crossing an intersection on a green man, I was almost run over by a police van two weeks ago. He jumped the red light at a pace that far outstripped the suburban 60km/h limit.

Stand again at any STOP street. Watch what goes on. Mothers in cars with children, mom yacking away on her cellphone. Illegal. Does it stop them? No.

When it comes to the road, we're all above the law. It's the one place we all think we're special. "Oh, I'm such a good driver," you often hear. Says who? You? Ha. You’re a fool. You're all fools. I'm a fool.

Blind rises, solid white lines, indicating, speeding, reckless overtaking – these things mean nothing to South African motorists. What will happen now, with 1300 deaths our nation's collective Christmas present? Sweet f-all. That's what. We'll sigh at the sadness of it all, only to ache for Christmas holidays all year long and then speed to our deaths come this December.

Look in the mirror. You killed Burry Stander. I killed Burry Stander. Until we realise that, until we realise that every little action on the road leads to bigger, more heinous devastations we’ll just carry on murdering each other.

Happy New Year, assholes.  

- Follow @david_moseley on Twitter.

Send your comments to David

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  • xoli.mabiya - 2013-01-08 09:45

    Sad but true Dave..:(

  • odie.jeffrey - 2013-01-08 09:47

    So true

  • alan.cargen - 2013-01-08 09:56

    Food for thought!!

  • philip.vde - 2013-01-08 10:06

    Great Article !I think all road users should be on chill pills , too much aggression on the roads .What happened to common courtesy ??

      nicolette.hailstone - 2013-01-09 14:40

      It's no longer common. :( That's what happened. It's a case of where I'm going is way more important to where you are and I need to get there faster. I also believe that a lot of it has to do with people not knowing how to time manage themselves.

  • LanfearM - 2013-01-08 10:11

    Brilliant, too true.

  • kosmonooit - 2013-01-08 10:16

    You tell it like it is bro. The culture of driving here is despicable to say the least.

  • leoniemollentze - 2013-01-08 10:22

    Couldn't agree more.

  • annelene.oberholzer - 2013-01-08 10:24

    Great read and very true. An impatient (white) guy in a shiny new BMW tried to push me (on a motorbike) out of the lane I was riding in, into one of the new BRT lanes...when I told him he's being silly, his response: "There are too many laws in this country" Uhm?!

  • 286ADC8D - 2013-01-08 10:27

    I hav no idea who this Stander guy was. But 4 goodness sake. Get over with it now! Why no tribbutes 2 the other 1300 people that died. Gosh! We're all dying. Stop carrying on about 1 person!

      richard.hipkin - 2013-01-08 11:09

      Who you?

      jacowium - 2013-01-08 11:31

      If you possess any comprehension skills, sir, you'll see that this article is not about Burry Stander as such, but about every person. You too.

      jackie.botha.10 - 2013-01-08 11:35

      Martin, jys n regte idiot!

      jo.hardiman.73 - 2013-01-08 12:05

      who ties your shoelaces everyday? give that person a medal.

      zonja.dorfling - 2013-01-08 12:45

      Do I detect a hint of sour grapes, maybe if you achieve something worthwhile the rest of South Africa will also mourn your loss.

      John - 2013-01-08 19:24

      Dude where have you been the last 5 or so years, get your head out of the sand.

      tc.convulvulous - 2013-01-09 16:19

      Yip and all the rhinos are being slaughtered. Get over it. Nobody really cares, do they?

      NickvanderLeek - 2013-01-09 20:27

      I hav no idea who this Stander guy was >>>maybe you should find out.

      elgh.elgh - 2013-01-10 07:37

      Shame we can see you also just a number, but I will call you idiot.

  • amber.rancic - 2013-01-08 10:28

    Just as an experiment, I'm going to try obeying all the traffic laws on my way home this afternoon. Somehow I think it may turn out harder than I expect..

      george.frangs - 2013-01-08 11:55

      Just drive like you normally would but drive like everyone else is MAD!

  • lea.jacobs.9 - 2013-01-08 10:31

    Well said David and oh so true.

  • reymister619 - 2013-01-08 10:31

    Tell it like it is.

  • seannewcombe55 - 2013-01-08 11:03

    Well said David!

  • alessandro.mendace - 2013-01-08 11:04

    Well said!

  • deon.barnard.581 - 2013-01-08 11:05

    Why would ordinary citizens obey the law when SAP members and traffic cops don't wear safety belts and talk on cellphones whilst driving. They should set the example.Photographs of these offenders shuold be published on a website in order to name and shame them.

      NickDB7 - 2013-01-08 11:36

      Because it's the right thing to do. Do you only do what's right if other people do it? I don't need other people to set an example for me.

      shaun.knoesen.9 - 2013-01-08 12:01

      Wow Deon? How very 5-years-old-of-you. Did your mother never use the "Well, if all your friend jumped off a cliff would you do that too" line one you?

      robyn.eldon - 2013-01-08 12:07

      I hear what you're saying Deon. I was driven into by a police van doing a u-turn across FOUR lanes of traffic. I saw him begin to execute the u-turn (clearly without so much as a glance in a mirror or he would have easily seen me) and was unable to do anything to avoid the collision. He literally drove through my engine from left to right, writing off my freshly paid off car. The best part - apparently his vehicle did the u-turn all on it's own and it wasn't him. If the law isn't obeying the law, what chance do we have?

      andre.maritz.773 - 2013-01-08 12:36

      @Deon: Because, we ordinary citizens, should know better, or shouldn't we? Do you only follow the law because you first saw a good example set by someone else? Your remark proves David's point 100%.

      george.frangs - 2013-01-08 12:47

      So just becasue someone else is doing it, you should too?? *Herd mentality :/

      marius.vorster.31 - 2013-01-10 07:59

      It's more than just the SAPS. A number of motorists (all ages) that drive badly and irresponsibly – and get away with it! It really irks me when someone drives up my rear end or passes on the white line or sees my following distance as a ‘gap’ etc. I also find it hard to be tolerant towards these drivers and feel the urge to counter their irresponsibility with my own – (like closing the ‘gap’) or being aggressive in some way to counter it. This all makes things even more dangerous. The metro should be fining/arresting these jerks but they ignore these transgressions & for the most part are invisible!

  • alessandro.mendace - 2013-01-08 11:06

    Someone buy this man a Bells!

      JaimeDeGouveia - 2013-01-09 09:29

      Are you serious? look at the thumbs up on this comment. I wonder if the taxi driver was on Bells when the incident happened? This is the same mentality of people who left alcohol bottles outside Amy Winehouse's home. The alcohol spurred her death and culminated in her end. Oh my goodness...

  • Malcolm - 2013-01-08 11:07

    I agree with much of your article; however I believe that the configuration of our roads are largely to blame. The numbers of vehicles on our roads have quadrupled over the past ten years, therefore not one highway or freeway should still be single lane. There must be a minimum of two lanes in both directions to allow for slower vehicles. This has not occurred because of the mismanagement and corruption in government, who don't care that about 144,000 lives are lost each year.

      robbie.crouch - 2013-01-08 12:03

      What became of "Drive to suit conditions" then?

      andre.maritz.773 - 2013-01-08 12:37

      @Mally: Just as David said, now you blame something, or someone else. Surely the bad condition of any road is clearly visible and any mature driver will drive accordingly, or should anyway.

      konstabel.koekemoer - 2013-01-08 15:35

      If road conditions are bad slow down, regardless of the speed limit. And if you are stuck behind a slower vehicle on a single lane road, accept it, relax and wait for a safe overtaking opportunity. The main problem on our roads is arrogance and impatience, in order to save a couple of minutes many of us will risk our lives as well as those of our families and other road users. We need to all change our attitudes. And it would be great if law enforcement would do their job and 'encourage' those that don't have the emotional intelligence to change, instead of being a big problem themselves.

      steve.maynard.121 - 2013-01-09 13:38

      Where did you get this '144000 lives lost each year' from ??

  • Steven3d - 2013-01-08 11:08

    Legendary lecture. we all need to stand up and say this to ourselves, our spouses, our friends. it is our responsibility. Well done David!

  • abel.duplessis - 2013-01-08 11:13

    In this country you only 'matter' if you are driving in your own car. Pedestrians, cyclist, public transport commuters are all secondary citizens and must beware of the rulers of the road. Now where does that legacy come from?

  • Don.Tandy - 2013-01-08 11:20

    Well said David. Unfortunately we have become a population that has openly embraced the lawless culture, and do not have the maturity, strength of character or moral fibre to understand and appreciate that you are still committing a crime even if you don’t get caught, and that rules and regulations are there for everyone to abide by. A problem which compounds this is Metropolitan Police Forces that are about as inept and as ineffective as a gaggle of overweight geese attempting to build a nuclear reactor. Venturing onto South African roads means braving a standard of driving that defies belief.

  • AmandaAngel365 - 2013-01-08 11:22

    Well written.

  • judith.taylor.56 - 2013-01-08 11:25

    Well said and we have to make this voice and strong and united one

  • SmartTart46 - 2013-01-08 11:26

    Sadly so true!

  • ricardo.sotomaior.7 - 2013-01-08 11:28

    Well said, but did you know that more than 14500 people died on our roads in 2012, averaging over 1200 people a month anyways! The festive season seemed no different when compared with the rest of the year. Quite hard to change a culture when law enforcement is only done from behind the bushes.

      derek.hohls - 2013-01-08 12:10

      "Quite hard to change a culture when law enforcement is only done from behind the bushes. " No, this misses the point. If everyone in this country decided to shoplift... who would stop "them" (i.e. us). And would we then all blame the lack on in-store security? Its us. We have to choose to start driving the way we need to, not the way we want to.

  • lynne.vanderlinde.5 - 2013-01-08 11:31

    You have hit the nail on the head - excellent article.

  • Kkrutch - 2013-01-08 11:31

    So sad coz it's true.

      galef - 2013-01-08 11:40

      u right....its sad but true...i see it every day...ppl shooting over stops and robots...ppl just pushing in and dont care if they bump u or damage their car..ppl are maniacs on the roads..but sorry to say...out taxi drivers take the crown...

  • nadine.vreede - 2013-01-08 11:39

    Well said David. We'll all clap at the brilliance of your article, only to continue speeding, reckless overtaking and yacking on cellphones. The sad reality of our country is that the few who do obey our rules are most often the ones that get pushed off the road for driving too "slowly", or have drivers hitting their back bumper when they stop at an orange light, or will have hundreds of cars pushing in front of them as they leave a 3-car travelling distance on the highway. What can we do about it? No idea... perhaps we should start with the law enforces who are clearly above the law they are supposed to enforce.

      Don.Tandy - 2013-01-08 12:17

      As you point out, we are more likely to be ostrasized for obeying the law, than we are penalised for breaking it. A truly sick society.

  • thethird.wors - 2013-01-08 11:40

    top shelf.

  • claudette.crouch - 2013-01-08 11:53

    Being someone that knew Burry and many others killed on the roads - I agree 100% - WE ARE ALL TO BLAME!! Lets start respecting the rules of the road and THINK for all road users, LETS MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

  • berny.boyden - 2013-01-08 11:54

    What a brilliant article!. Makes you think, doesn't it. South African roads are lawless.

  • robbie.crouch - 2013-01-08 11:54

    David, this must be your best article yet. Thanks for reminding us that road safety starts with each and every one of us and that we need to change our attitude drastically.

  • george.frangs - 2013-01-08 11:55

    Nailed it.

  • mkulu.mkulu - 2013-01-08 11:56

    Speak for yourself Bra! Patience is what is needed and drive defensively not offensively!

  • suzarne - 2013-01-08 12:00

    So now David Moseley is the hero, and everyone says great article because he say it like it is. I say bull, you all follow like sheep, he is welcome to single himself out for being instrumental with typical behaviour shown by some motorists, who deem it their right to aim for runners and cyclist should they, according to the motorists beliefs, be breaking the law. How can a runner/cyclist possibly stand a chance against a car. Why don't we get gunmen at the traffic lights and stop streets to take out motorists who do not obey the rules of the road. I can assure you the statistics will be very high on the motorists side. It is the disgusting attitude of some drivers and their disregard of the rules of the road that kill us. The only a/hole here is David Moseley.

      robbie.crouch - 2013-01-08 12:09

      Read the article I see... (roll eyes)

      Don.Tandy - 2013-01-08 12:14

      Suzarne - written like a true a/hole.

      zonja.dorfling - 2013-01-08 13:19

      And you are whiter than snow! Take some responsibility, who are the "some drivers" - you, me and everybody else that uses our roads. It is such a pity that we are a blaming society and not a take action one.

      robert.rutherfoord.7 - 2013-01-10 09:16


  • deon.pillay.56 - 2013-01-08 12:08

    Extremely true, hit the nail right on the head and that's exactly what we need, public and authorities to get into people's faces, I don't mind being called an A.Hole, rather be the A.Hole that is NOT scraping my loved one off the tar because I chose the ignorant route.

  • michael.tetley.35 - 2013-01-08 12:13

    If road users won't voluntarily comply with the laws then it's the responsibility of the authorities to make them do so. All the laws must be enforced without fear or favour. This includes all moving violations, not only speeding. There has to visible and invisible policing and the focus must move to enforcement with regard to promoting safety rather than revenue collection. Road infrastructure also needs to be improved with special attention paid to markings and signage. On some very busy roads this is poor at best or non-existent. Training of officials needs to drastically improve coupled with annual assessments, reviews and refresher training.

      des.maartens - 2013-01-09 14:09

      100 % correct Michael

  • christoffeljohanneskruger - 2013-01-08 12:19

    Well said David. I totally agree with u 100%.

  • godesha - 2013-01-08 12:25

    David, you took the word right out of my mouth and then we blame the authorities for the number of fatalities as if they are in control of our behaviour and attitude.

  • idris.nomani - 2013-01-08 12:33

    Taxis are responsible for the majority of carnage on our roads. Speaking on mobile phones, children not buckled up etc is an international problem..not only SA. Taxis openly disregard traffic rules...In the city they stop where they want, park where they want, go through red traffic lights. On the open road they speed, overload, overtake on solid lines...not to mention the un-roadworthy state of some taxis! When ever accidents claim 14/15/20 lives, there are always taxis involved. As long as nothing is done about these murderous thugs(taxi drivers n owners), there will continue to be carnage on our roads!

      mike.bundy.73 - 2013-01-08 16:18

      The taxis stand out as some the the most obviously inconsiderate drivers, but David is correct - we are all to blame.

      johnmoore7007 - 2013-01-12 08:45

      Your generalising about Taxis on the open road is wrong. I wound my way home from holiday at Plettenberg Bay on Wednesday 9th Jan and came across quite a few Taxis. NOT ONE of them were driving recklessly. Not one was speeding. The only fools on the road were white guys driving 4x4 wagons (mostly BMW X5's and Land Rovers) who had no regard for anyone else. Rich fools who thought they had the right to pass on blind rises across barrier lines, coming up behind you, flashing their lights at you to pass, JUST BECAUSE THEY REGARDED THEMSELVES A CUT ABOVE EVERYONE ELSE financially.(Usually with +-3 Bikes on a bike rack attached to their cars - showing that they were families returning from holiday.) Just in case you think I am a Taxi lover, I'm not. I am a white guy (if that at all matters) with my family in the car who kept to the speed limit and pulled over onto the shoulder of the road WHEN IT WAS SAFE TO DO SO for someone to pass. I believe we have the technology to place cameras at high accident zones (yes it will be expensive) and take legal action against anyone who breaks the law.

  • andre.maritz.773 - 2013-01-08 12:34

    Excellent article. Well said!

  • Zohan.Steppingstone - 2013-01-08 12:42

    Speak for yourself David, I have never killed anyone in 35 years of driving neither have I been involved in any form of road accident for at least 25 years. And this includes many thousands of kilometres on a motorbike. This knee jerk rant of yours smacks of a guilty complex regarding your own driving habits, and it seems you feel the need to project it onto your readership so they can share in your feelings of guilt. Judging by the level of patronising support you have attracted in the comments section though, there appear to be plenty out there with the same guilty conscience. The usual fare of satiric diatribe flowing from your keyboard is bad enough, but this high-pitched attempt at serious reporting places the spotlight squarely on your inability to come up with anything of substance.

      andre.maritz.773 - 2013-01-08 12:50

      So Zohan, with an super driving and riding recors like yours, why does David's article irritate you in any way? Strange indeed.

      godesha - 2013-01-08 13:26

      Zohan, I suppose you have never broken any traffic law in 35 years either. I have been driving for many years too and have never made or caused an accident yet, but that does not mean that I have never broken the traffic laws. We are all equally quilty and until we all change our attitudes, the carnage on the roads will continue.

      des.maartens - 2013-01-09 14:17

      Well done Zohan for not having a wooly skin. I agree with you and that David pull his head out of his backside, breath some fresh air and rethink his article. I say deduct a months wages from his salary.

      robert.rutherfoord.7 - 2013-01-10 09:26

      Zohan.......U must stay in some dorpie that has only 2 other people and only 1 has a car.

  • zonja.dorfling - 2013-01-08 12:46

    Totally agree!

  • bradjackson78 - 2013-01-08 12:53

    Hard hitting article, the truth hurts.

  • FooFunk - 2013-01-08 13:04

    Surely there needs to be some portal where people can name and shame things like this, from corrupt cops to people not indicating, speeding, reckless drivers....something. A facebook page which is updated with peoples photographic evidence of others who break the law....why can social media be used for so many things but the very thing it should be used for seems not to exist.....or am I wrong, is there a FB page I can like and monitor/update for things lime this? Come on, Im always thinking I want to do something to help with the problems we have in this country but dont know what? If a page was created would you use it?

  • ryandavid.curling - 2013-01-08 13:07

    What i cant understand is cause one "big name" cyclist dies its big news.......people get killed on bicycles everyday n- that doestn make news or make people cry out.........

      jo.hardiman.73 - 2013-01-08 16:11

      ... Life on a plateau it is for you then. No excitement when a rock concert pulls in to town? Happy to listen to just anyone strum a guitar? white bread, brown bread - it all tastes the same? If one of your children passes, no big deal - people die every day? Get it yet?!

  • Tygerr - 2013-01-08 13:11

    I agree with the sentiment. We all break the laws daily on SA roads. And we all have to shift our attitudes if we are to change the current state of affairs on our roads. However it's going to be a struggle to get most people to change their attitude when 1) taxi drivers openly and recklessly disobey the traffic laws every day, 2) blue light VIP vehicles put us all at risk on the roads and 3) most of the traffic police themselves are corrupt. The public needs to see that an effort is being made to stamp these things out before they will be willing again to make their own effort to be better citizens. Taxi drivers cannot just be allowed to get away with it anymore.

  • storm.fergusonsnr - 2013-01-08 13:36

    The truth, you spoke the truth about anarchy on our roads but this is Africa, there are laws but there's no one to apply them. Yes we clothe persons in uniforms of authority but to them its about a monthly paycheck not a job to do. Without discipline there is no obedience. Perhaps our first step after personally driving according to the law, is to withhold a percentage of rates and taxes until traffic policing restarts?

  • neville.taylor.71 - 2013-01-08 13:37

    We even ignore the fines we get for not obeying the laws, and we get away with it.

  • paul.penzhorn - 2013-01-08 13:40

    Come on Dave....really. I think there is a difference between just not stopping at a stop street or not indicating correctly to complete reckless driving that cause deaths. It would be like saying the government can lie to the public because we all tell white lies daily. Drinking and driving and the way the taxis drive (the cause of most car accidents) are in a league of their own.

      Don.Tandy - 2013-01-08 13:54

      Come on Paul - are you one of these drivers who think it is ok to not stop at stop streets, in the belief that you are above the law? Your reasoning lacks any credibility.

      andre.maritz.773 - 2013-01-08 14:01

      @Paul: You are missing the point and because so many of us miss the point, the carnage continues. Taxis may well be the cause of most accidents (they are not by a long way - Dec 2011 figures indicate 4 out of 20 fatal accidents involved a taxi), but if you kill another road user, the point is moot, isn't it? Stop blaming others and start driving as much within the law as you can. Stop thinking of laws as important and unimportant and then break unimportant ones. It is how criminals think. If we all aimed at 100% law abiding driving, we will see the improvment on our roads overnight. Is it really too much to ask?

      des.maartens - 2013-01-09 14:32

      Hey Paul, why don't the folk who dislike your comment understand your common sense. They are following David without thought. Self discipline does sometimes slip. What we are on about is deliberately breaking the law and bye-laws. Enforcement agencies should be preventing us from causing havoc and mayhem and that is why we have them to supposedly keep all citizens in check. @Don.Tandy, PaulPen did not say he does not stop at stop streets. He is using language to convey a message.

  • phillo.beukes.3 - 2013-01-08 13:51

    AMEN !