Blue light campaigners take plight to UN

2012-01-03 22:32

Johannesburg-  A lobby group trying to stop government ministers and other VIPs from using blue-light vehicles to move through traffic has accused the minister of transport of ignoring a public petition demanding he take action against the convoys.

Howard Dembovsky, chairperson of the Justice Project SA (JPSA), said the petition, containing 46,646 signatures, was "hand-delivered" to the offices of the national department of transport on December 1 and the minister, Sibusiso Ndebele, given until December 31 to respond.

"As a result of his [Ndebele's] inaction a letter has been drafted and delivered to the World Health Organisation at the United Nations, Dembovsky said.

Tiyani Rikhotso, spokesman for the ministry of transport, acknowledged receipt of the petition and told Sapa that the minister would respond in due course.

JPSA is lobbying against blue-light brigades after a Krugersdorp teenager, Thomas Ferreira, 18, was injured in November last year when the car transporting Gauteng housing MEC, Humphrey Mmemezi, jumped a red traffic light.

A blue flashing light was the only warning to motorists that the high speed luxury car was not going to stop.

Ferreira, who was knocked off his motorbike, is recovering but has suffered brain damage.

  • Irene - 2012-01-03 22:40

    Well done Howard. If you like, I'll deliver it to the UN personally.

      Howard - 2012-01-03 23:59

      Thanks for the offer Irene, but it has already been delivered - prior to us sending the statement out. We had our contacts at the World Health Organisation at the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety lined up long before we even drafted the petition. We always knew that this outcome was a possibility, or should I say a probability. I urge EVERYONE to refrain from turning this into a race issue - which it is NOT. People of all races and walks of life signed our petition and we are most grateful for that. This is about the belief that is widely held that "we are all equal but some are more equal than others". That does not fit in with our country's Constitution and public servants have unfortunately come to believe that they are indeed somehow superior to the rest of us - which they are not. It is a belief that must be corrected and sanity on our roads and elsewhere restored. Had the Minister wished to respond to the petition & memorandum, as has been published in this report that he will, then the time to have done so would surely have been prior to the expiration of the deadline? A full month was given. He will however need to do some serious thinking about why it is that he deems it necessary to have changed legislation to accomodate the wanton use of blue lights for "any authorised person" when this was previously limited to law enforcement officials and vehicles. And by the way, "VIP" has come to mean Violent Inconsiderate Pomposity.

      craigtjames - 2012-01-04 00:14

      @Howard. Well done and thank you for the response asking people not to turn this into a race issue. This is an issue about the behaviour of certain individuals and an abuse of their position of power. (which is costing innocent people their lives and causing irreparable agony to families)We have many problems in South Africa, but tackling it one at a time might just be the over-all solution. "How does one eat an elephant - one bite at a time".

      Bongani - 2012-01-04 00:37

      What I am however disgusted about is the fact that only 46,000 of us signed the petition when some 83,000 people signed the Bryce Lawrence petition. More South Africans should start taking the welfare of this country seriously if we are going to change this place for the better. The Bryce Lawrence petition was flaunted on News24 for days and news agencies could have done more to promote the blue light petition. While the rest of us have gone on with life, the Ferreira family are left with the hard reality of a brain damaged son and officials blatantly lying to the media about commitments made to the Ferreira family. Even if we get nowhere with this insane habit of these politicians, then we should create the next petition to get the officials to pay the medical bills of Thomas. The Ferreiras will get nowhere on their own. We as citizens should stand up as a unified force and do what is right for our citizens. The ANC is becoming an isolated movement very detached from the country and the welfare of us citizens. It is up to us to stop this.

      Michael - 2012-01-04 01:13

      Douglas - 2012-01-04 06:47

      @ Howard , petitions are a waste of time. The only way to get change from this government is to withhold taxes.

      Had - 2012-01-04 08:15

      I too would like to thank Howard for his efforts, but I am afraid you may as well smash your head against a brick wall than expect results from either the office of the Dept of Transport or the UN. It is an African trait to need to drive in elite convoy in expensive SUV's. I have seen it in Zim and Zam over the past "n" years - why the starving, impoverished stand there and wave and cheer these tin-pot dictators as they pass is beyond me when the price of a single tyre on their vehicle could probably feed someone for a year. In years to come, SA will be identical to these countries.

      Squeegee - 2012-01-04 08:34

      Would someone please explain to the minister who the "the World Health Organisation at the United Nations" are. This might light a fire under him...

      Jarryd - 2012-01-04 08:46

      To the people involved in this campaign - you are an inspiration.

      Bardy - 2012-01-04 09:07

      Well done Howard, but can I ask why you guys delivered it to WHO? They deal more with international medical issues not correct? We should put together more petitions and deliver them to the UN! It's time the world opens their ears and hear the cries of SA citizens. The ANC cannot continue to ruin our country like this! I think the next petition should be about the R500m being spent on the ANC's party while there are thousands of people dying due to hunger! Then we should petition against all the corruption in the government.

  • Michelle - 2012-01-03 22:42

    What a glorious day it will be when the arrogant ministers and drivers of the blue light brigade cannot use their "power" and "rank" over the ordinary citizens of our country... Justice for Thomas Ferreira!

  • Dave - 2012-01-03 22:44

    Ego trips of elected officials put the electorate at risk. These aparatchiks are so insecure in their abilities, they need the "WEE WAAR, WEE WAAR" and Blue Lights, to make them feel important. They come from hovels, but now live in luxury at taxpayers' expense.

      Irene - 2012-01-03 22:47

      They know they're nothing but a bunch of scum and to make themselves Very Important Pigs.

  • Cameron - 2012-01-03 22:50

    I wonder what they are actually transporting in their vehicles? Drugs maybe?

      Squeegee - 2012-01-04 08:34

      And KFC

      Bardy - 2012-01-04 09:15

      LMAO!!! KFC sounds more true yes!

  • Heinrich - 2012-01-03 22:58

    If our democracy was working properly, we would not have had to take this matter to the U.N. Who gave these maaifoedies permission to use the blue lights in this way? The people? Us ? Or did the Arrogance, Nepotism and Corruption just assume this right for themselves and show the middle finger to the people of S.A.? We still have a long way to go towards freedom and democracy. My feeling is we will never get there as long as there is the ANC.

      Bongani - 2012-01-04 01:06

      Sipho So are you then condoning the ANC officials running over citizens and endangering their lives? If this had been your son how would you feel about the matter?

      John - 2012-01-04 05:53

      @ubhejane, I don't think Sipho's brain can function that far ahead.

      Rob - 2012-01-04 10:05

      Sipho: Your response seems primitive and unsophisticated. This is not a fight between ordinary people, whatever there colour, race, or cultural inclinations. It is about social pressure by all ordinary people against the arrogant power-mad bullies that are supposed to govern.....Govern is not the same as dominate by power.

  • gerhard.germishuys - 2012-01-04 00:21

    And what are they going to do………. Send people with blue hats to irritate us even more. Remember the story of the boy who cried wolf………… IF you see a blue light IGNORE the dam thing

  • Michael - 2012-01-04 01:13

      Bongani - 2012-01-04 01:29

      Very true Michael. Thanks for the link.

      celeste.rsa - 2012-01-04 10:52

      Thanks for the link - a real eye-opener!

  • Ntuthuzelo - 2012-01-04 01:19

    Interesting debate on blue light. Few questions: 1. How many countries do not have protection services for their politicians? 2. If you dont swerve for blue lights are you the same guy who doesnt swerve for Ambulences, fire trucks etc 3. Must we have another Chris Hani to understand why these guys are protected 4. How many of you actually read newspapers: Find out the number of officials killed in South Africa

      Van - 2012-01-04 01:42

      Do some research and bring us the numbers of accidents where protection services were the cause of accidents in the first world. An Ambulance and Fire truck have a siren and a light. They are not some dinky toy beemer and there drivers are 'EDUCATED and TRAINED' They make such a big racket you can't miss them. They have a reason(not the typical late for meeting) to get where they want to be in a guickly. Was Chris Hani killed while driving? Or was he killed in his driveway? Janus looked him in the eye before he killed him. How many of you actually read newspapers: Find out the number of ordinary people killed in South Africa. - Way to many. If you look at the number of criminals(officials) killed you will also notice they are killed , mostly at home. That is where you are the most vulnerable. The blue light is not going to safe you there.

      Van - 2012-01-04 01:43

      The Fire engine and Ambulance mostly stop at the red light before they proceed.

      akaRags - 2012-01-04 02:29

      What are you insinuating when you say officials are killed? Are they murdered because of political fighting? When will they rise above that sort of mentality? Just because you don't like a certain politician just knock them off? Does that justify driving around with blue lights endangering the lives of other road users? Many officials are so full of their own self importance they forget about the public who they are actually serving, not the other way round. Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, cycles to work. I doubt there is any SA Mayor with such humility.

      Van - 2012-01-04 02:37

      Never. It is as old as Africa. Kill or be killed.

      PaasHaas - 2012-01-04 07:38

      @ AKARags - clearly Boris Johnson, the Lord mayor of London, host of the 2012 Olympic Games has no clue how to show the serviceless masses who voted him into power that he's important. If he was sensible and really wanted people to know how important he really was he would emulate Cathy Dlamini, the well known and all powerful mayor of Mbombela (Nelspruit) who needs a 4 vehicle convoy to escourt her brand new Lexus through the litter strewn streets of her domain.

      Robi - 2012-01-04 07:40

      Ntuthuzelo, think twice blue light and emergency are parralel to each other. Blue light means nothing to worry much whereas Ambulance and fire bridgate rushing to save and assist one of us assaulted, killed or injured by blue light

      thabo.tebele - 2012-01-04 07:45

      The Ambulance,fire trucks are marked emergency vehicles and by law you have tp make way for it,not some black big German car with just a blue light on.

      Rob - 2012-01-04 10:13

      Nthuthzelo: Of course countries protect whoever they believe to warrant such protection. But please explain to me in what way flashing lights and any other display protects. I would think that it advertises the presence of a potential target. If this is really about security it is madness indeed. But of course, it is not about security, it is about arrogance, power and dominance. Perhaps it leeds to respect? Really, do you respect someone who behaves in this manner....not me...I give my respect to someone that I believe has earned it through their behaviors and deeds.

      VoiceOfReason - 2012-01-04 10:52

      @paashaas, Boris Johnson isn't the Lord Mayor of London he is the Mayor of Grater London. The Lord Mayor of the City of London (Corporation of London) is David Wootton. In addition HRH Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh drives around London in an unmarked black cab. Sometimes you get where you need to go more quickly and safely by not being noticed and just blending in with everyday traffic.

      PaasHaas - 2012-01-04 11:25

      @ VoiceofReason - thanks for the correction. Im sure the bike riding Boris still commands a section of the city which probably has a budget far greater than the whole of Mpumalanga Province, never mind self important Clr Dlamini's dirty little domain known as Mbombela.

      MissC - 2012-01-04 11:38

      What a stupid comment to make!!! First of all what you need to understand is that amubulances etc, with sirens are responding to an emergency. Are these politicians responding to some emergency that they cannot obey the law and road regulations? Come on & pleasssse get some sense. The blue lights are used simply to get away with more disregard for the people and that is all that it is about! Why should a politician not obey the road regultations like the rest of us? If anything, they should set examples for the rest of us! If politicians cannot abide by the laws and regultations of our country.... why exactly are they in power! I'm sorry but there's a lot to be desired if the party in power has absolutely no regard for the citizens of Africa and don't even pretend to care that the rights of the populace must be protected or that laws, rules and regulations must be observed in order to maintain some semblance of order. It is shameless and appalling that a young man has been injured to the exetent of having brain damage and the government cannot even take time to respond to a letter. And then the Minister says " Yes we will take care of the hospital and medical expenses"???!!! Note that the "WE" means taxpayers that obey the law! Let the Minister take personal accountability and lets see if the "blue lights" continue! Oh and by the way : the young man's life has been ruined so no amount of compensation will ever justify the tragedy.

  • Roy - 2012-01-04 05:49

    Well done Howard.Was the signatures obtained country wide or only in Gauteng? We have the same problem in Cape Town with these people. All citizens should voice their dissatisfaction and the "Traffic" departments should do their job without fear or favour

  • Stuart - 2012-01-04 06:26

    first time I have heard of this petition is this article, would have been nice to have had the oppourtunity to have added my name to it.

  • steven.m.armour - 2012-01-04 06:31

    Here we are,just like mugabe and amin.Gee another banana republic here we come(oops.sorry we are there already)

  • Larry - 2012-01-04 06:56

    ANC VIP = Vacillating Incompetent Pig.

  • Roy - 2012-01-04 07:15

    Have always wondered if we still have Traffic police doing point duty when traffic lights are not working etc. One only sees these people at big sporting events. Have seen four of them in one car doing shopping and wondered if they are woking and for whom.

  • Mabel - 2012-01-04 07:29

    Well done Howard. I wish you the best of luck and thank you. The treatment of Ferreira and his family is an absolute disgrace.

  • Robi - 2012-01-04 07:32

    Well done Howard, forget about race issue and concentrates on what is good and right for the country.I am suprised that blue light always ahead of us but service delivery very poor. If there can be correlation between blue light and services delivery then no problem. There is no need to rush whereas end results invisible

  • jacques.koorts - 2012-01-04 08:02

    wish i knew about the petition

  • Andile Oscar Mtshiselwa - 2012-01-04 08:16

    I am subject to correction: when i obtained my drivers license,i made an aknowledgement that i will give way to the emergency vehicles including blue light vehicles. I think the law should take its course to those abusing those rights. Another friendly advice,those guys and girls still have the right to shoot if you are hesitating to pave way. While the petitions are still waiting for responses,let us play it safe and give way so as to avoid unneccesary deaths and injuries.

      Xavier7034 - 2012-01-04 09:35

      Really SHOOT you......hectic! Wow - and you say THAT is a right? Jeepers. Guys and Girls nogal!

      Ronald - 2012-01-04 12:46

      Andile, you will note that you need to give way to emergency vehicles with blue lights while said lights are used in the execution of the occupant's of the vehicle's duty as set out in the Constitution, National,Provincial and local laws. Nowhere is it stated that blue lights may be used to facilitate the transport of someone that deems him/herself a VIP. Neither are they allowed to use firearms if you do not give way, as has been indicated by recent court cases. They may only use force to protect the life of their charge if there is a direct threat to his/her life, and only to the extent where the threat is negated. And the criteria by law for the previous is whether the average citizen would have felt threatened, not the VIP or body guards with inflated egos.

      Refilwe IronMan Rakoma - 2012-01-05 01:11

      Andile just drop it my brother, White people cant stand to have a black man in charge, thats why they use terms like 'inflated ego', clearly if I come to you and accuse you of an inflated ego it would only mean that mine is bruised. All we can do is keep getting our money, pretty soon their girls will date us and they will say that we have AIDS, or something that loosers would say. Amandla

      Van - 2012-01-05 02:09

      @Refilwe I see it that our black members need to use external means to make them look important and to stand out because they can't do it with hard work and self pride.

  • Steve - 2012-01-04 08:24

    If anyone has the time go watch or download the documentary "Shadow Government" by Grant Jeffrey - Eye Opening!!!

  • Wendy - 2012-01-04 08:25

    At least someone is doing something, well done!

  • ludlowdj - 2012-01-04 09:31

    The ANC fails again, although I suppose we knew they would before we even started.

  • Mpho - 2012-01-04 09:53

    You can add my signature with the rest, Howard.

  • Henk - 2012-01-04 11:16

    Let's face it, blue light brigades have nothing to do with emergencies, lateness or security. It is all about showing off and feeling important. It is the only way those low IQ MP's, MEC's etc can display their "status". It has never occurred to them that they are abusing their positions and it probably never will.

  • Michele - 2012-01-04 14:19

    Thank you Howard. When are public servants going to learn that they their primary function is to " serve the public " ie. not to kill them on the roads, not to extort every cent possible, not to steal the public coffers blind but to actually serve the public to the best of their abillities ? What is really worrisome to me is is that the ruling party do not even engage civil society anymore ? this is not the only instance where this has happened, the other issue is the hate speach one between the ANC and Afriforum with regards to the kill the farmer song. Surely these things can be sorted out locally ? What kind of leaders have we elected that simple arbitrary issues like these cannot be sorted out. If it were happening anywhere else i would find it laughable.

      Van - 2012-01-05 02:11

      Just look around you. Look at who voted for these 'leaders'. There in lies your answer.

  • Isabelle - 2012-02-05 10:57

    Surely there are laws regulating the use of blue light (as for the ambulances and police cars...)what emergency could this person be in to justify such trauma for the injured? they should just not have blue lights!!!!!!!and do not go blame the driver only, his boss was in the car! good luck and thank you for your dedication. any statistics on those accidents?

  • Abdul - 2012-04-17 08:08

    Just lets educate all drivers and enforce the law....Regardless...take a look at wwwfatalmovesdotcom

  • pages:
  • 1