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.

  • Ian - 2011-09-21 20:41

    really, what a genius, DUH

      RACINGCAT - 2011-09-21 21:18

      At least Satawu makes more sense than the minister does.Every little bit helps...

      Mattewis - 2011-09-22 07:25

      What is missed once again is the fact that it is not the law that is lacking, but the enforcement thereof. These useless majority-rule ANC ministers can't even conceptualize the magnitude of their job portfolios, let alone effectively function in them! Even the sensationally skewed news in the media manages to convey the message that law enforcement in South Africa is generally corrupt, and in the case of Metro Police altogether corrupt right to the top! Ndebele's "notion" can be likened to a patient terminally ill with cancer in every organ in his body expressing concern about a suspicious looking spot on his skin!

      Observer - 2011-09-22 08:01

      @ RACINGCAT - unfortunately, these days, it's not all that difficult to make more sense than a minister.

      Ouman - 2011-09-22 09:06

      Taxi's have a speed limit of 100 KMH. How many speeding tickets are issued for taxi's exceeding the limit? Is the speed limit for taxi's to be redced to 80 KMH?

  • PietJakhals - 2011-09-21 20:42

    Reduce accedents by 90% by removing all taxi's from our roads.....

      Dylan - 2011-09-21 21:51

      Or just teach people how to drive properly.

      PB - 2011-09-22 07:57

      "...strengthening law enforcement (TAXIS PRETENDING TO OWN THE ROAD), providing reliable and safe public transport (ONLY GAUTRAIN, NOTHING ELSE EXISTING), maintaining existing roads (L.M.A.O) and clamping down on corrupt officials." NUF SAID.

      2shy2call - 2011-09-22 08:50

      PietJakhals do not mention those, he afraid of them. I say let them reduce the corrupt officials the different departments.

      Jem Atkins - 2011-09-22 09:18

      Piet, statements like that only show others that you have no idea what you're talking about and fail to even remotely comprehend the problem. Your 'solution', not only logistically impossible and unsustainable, would create havoc and be hugely detrimental to our economy on so many levels.

  • doctor28 - 2011-09-21 20:48

    I drive to work at a hospital through roads which are high density with taxis. I will drive behind them and literally count the transgressions of the law a single driver will make over a 5 km stretch of road and its astounding how every day without fail every taxi drives and stops as if there are no rules on the road. How about just lashing a taxi driver a few times on the side of the road every time you cath one of those b***ards obviously and intentionally breaking the law the way they do. Maybe after the 5th or 6th time they'd get it through their thick skulls that they too have to abide by the rules governing all road users!

  • Gadafi007 - 2011-09-21 20:51

    My car is not used to your limit MR Transport ,If your guys were not taking bribes like puffing cigarette smoke and doing their jobs properly .Accidents would be less .Drivers would fear and respect them .Now is the other around.

  • Jack - 2011-09-21 20:58

    Teach people to drive. And I am not just referring to taxis - most aggressive speeding drivers I have encountered on the road were not driving taxis.

  • My Father - 2011-09-21 21:01

    Sibusiso must not give up his day job!

      LiraShea - 2011-09-22 07:54

      Err... it is his day jopb being Minister of Transport and all...

  • Dingaan - 2011-09-21 21:02

    Law enforcers already can't enforce the laws. More legislation is doomed to fail. Rather make it compulsory to fit speed governors to all public transport (taxis and buses). Set them at 100, and they won't be able to exceed that. Make sure they are fitted in such a way that the vehicles can be stopped at road blocks and a simple test can be done to see that they are still functional.

  • Anton - 2011-09-21 21:03

    I work in PE Livingstone Trauma Unit. Ons Sunday we had 3 Big MVA's. 2x Bakkies rolled - with people in the back of the canopies. plus a full Taxi that rolled. Im not sure how many people died at the different scenes, but countless lives destroyed that day with deaths, 4x broken necks, children badly injured etc etc. where they speeding? hell no! burst tyres, failed brakes, driver fatigue. the problem is praiseworthiness and law enforcement

      iqanda - 2011-09-21 21:27

      To true!!!!!

      Snoopy88 - 2011-09-22 10:40

      Let's get safety belts into all buses and taxis first. That is at least something do-able. Then they can maybe tackle the bakkies carrying human cargo next.

  • Joe Soap - 2011-09-21 21:14

    Once again the government wants to find a cure for the symptom and not the root cause of the problem. Condition of roads and shocking taxi drivers who violate more rules than they obey are the root cause that needs to be addressed, not the speed limit. The Autobahn in Germany has no speed limit and there accident statistics are impeccable.........speed does not kill, its the idiot behind the wheel.

      Ke maketse - 2011-09-22 08:27

      I think its laziness as well. In Australia they did something and it worked for them, therefore I'll just go over there and copy what they are doing and come and paste it over here. Never mind the fact that the cause of our problems are different to that of Australia. Thats what they keep doing with our education system.Copying other country's curriculum without worrying about the challenges that we are facing.

      Snoopy88 - 2011-09-22 10:43

      Exactly - we have unique problems. Children being transported to school on the back of bakkies. Overloading. Bought licenses and roadworthy certificates. And officers that are always open to being bribed.

  • Mark - 2011-09-21 21:20

    eish when will we have educated people in government, the minister needs to know that by far it is the taxi industry that poses the major danger on our roads and then stupid people not just speed. why is the minister afraid of clamping down on unsafe and illegal taxis. now will somebody read my comments to the honourable minister, i was careful to use simple words so that everybody would be able to understand.

      Zambezi - 2011-09-22 11:47

      Because the stupid government relies on the taxi industry and associated unions, etc. to keep voting them into power, simple as that.

  • Cat Woman - 2011-09-21 21:21

    Wow Anton so well said! Changing the speed limits is not going to change anything. Who is going to enforce it? I reside in a neighbourhood where people do not stop at stop streets no they not the residents but motorist that use the neighbourhood as a thru-fare. I fully agree with Anton forget about teaching people to drive. Teach them the basics of a roadworthy vehicle. Educate people about the inertia of a vehicle? Perhaps people should be asked to judge distance as part of their licence so they know when it is safe to over take etc. Or inertia how long it takes to stop. Teach them about the tyre thread, brakes the alertness of a driver.

  • Delta Roger - 2011-09-21 21:32

    The Minister is correct in addressing the speed issue. Speed is one of the contributory factors in most road accidents. At least the Minister is making a tangible start to making the roads safer. Some of the issues mentioned in the article,(eg.condition of roads,corrupt officials),are other variables that also need to be addressed. As Piet mentions,taxis have become the greatest menace on our roads(poor driving skills,greed, unlicensed drivers).

      Monica - 2011-09-21 21:58

      @Delta Roger I agree 100% with you.There are lots of mistakes people do,there are vehicles unroadworthy but if there is no speed lots of them can be avoided,

      Singularity - 2011-09-21 23:26

      Delta, you are living in a dream world, or you have no idea what it is like to drive on the road daily. Speed is not an issue if everyone obeys the rules of the road. Speeding is an issue. Think carefully, "Speed is one of the contributory factors in most road accidents" Speeding, sure!! Do you think reducing the speed limit is going to make people speed less???? oh and just a thought, dont you have to be moving at a speed to have an accident??? And do remember that 5km/hr is still a speed of sorts!!

      Mattewis - 2011-09-22 07:36

      If "all the vehicles are stationary there can't be any accidents", is the other side of the coin. The trick is in balancing the whole act. This can only be done by a functional system, driven by competent people. Reducing the speed limit on roads that have decayed to the extent where 120km/h is no longer safe, would make sense. Fixing the road surface would make even more sense though! On roads that are well maintained, enforcing the law on "moving violations" would make much more sense than lowering the speed limit, which is also poorly enforced to start with.

      Lancet - 2011-09-22 07:53

      So eveybody must now be punished because of a few speedsters. Slow drivers are a major cause of accidents for a number of reasons: they irritate everyone around them; they access the highway at 50km/h with vehicles approaching at 120km/h etc etc. Speedsters will not be deterred by a lower speed limit - it will merely increase traffic volumes as people will be longer on the road due to an idiotic decision by a minister.

      Snoopy88 - 2011-09-22 10:45

      @ Lancet - speed still kills in the idiot behind the wheel is going so fast he can't take into account slow drivers, cars without headlights and people crossing highways. Its common sense NOT to speed in SA...

  • yash - 2011-09-21 21:32

    Our wonderful taxi drivers, the cause of most of our accidents, don't drive at 120km/h, this minister (classically out of touch, as anc ministers tend to be) thinks they will drive at 100km/h. The anc needs to find appropriately trained and educated ministers across the board - from president to youth leader...

  • Jacques - 2011-09-21 21:33

    think they must look more into taxi driwers. It also won't help to reduce the speed limit also wil not solved the problem.

  • peter - 2011-09-21 21:40

    Possibly someone should point out to the "minister" taxi's, buses and comercial vehicles already have an imposed speed limit of 100 km/h. Doesn't help if they can't drive!

  • Vela Stardust - 2011-09-21 21:41

    Where is the traffic law enforcement? Why not first target un-roadworthy vehicles,incompetent drivers, people being transported in open bakkies, overloaded taxis, drivers who cross solid white lines, skip red robots, etc, etc. Easy for Minister Ndebele to say, he can cruise at 140kph with blue lights and escort.

  • mospo - 2011-09-21 21:58

    Who is making the mmost accidents? they thing everything belongs to them. No respect for other road users, taxis should be govern 90km. No use to bring the speed limit down., not the solution. PO

      Bee and Jay - 2011-09-21 22:35

      Most accidents are speed and aggression related and involve male drivers under the age of 24. That is why they pay the highest insurance rates. Taxi drivers are the worst traffic offenders by far but if you stand at any stop sign and count the number of cars that pass through without stopping you will be amazed. All these drivers considder themselves very competent, and complain about taxi drivers.

  • SlapTjip - 2011-09-21 22:00

    You see reducing the speed limit will not help. We have people driving 120 in 60 zones. We have people driving 180 in 120 zones. The problem is not the speed limit but the lack of policing the existing speed limits. You see traffic officers lately have big backsides that needs feeding 24/7. So you will find them at your local Nando's or KFC 24/7. I would suggest you fire the entire traffic enforcement group and replace them with highly skilled officers but then again, that would contradict BEE & EE. Since this solution is the only solution and government will not follow this solution we can expect to have the same death statistics next time this year followed by the same discussion. Till then, buckle up, speed to stay ahead of the accidents and snap a shot of traffic officers biting into a fatty chicken leg every morning at 09H00 for your scrapbook.

      SlapTjip - 2011-09-21 22:08

      I forgot to mention, when you see a minister convoy put pedal to the medal, jump stop streets, cross robots and don't forget those evasive moves, pavement if need be. I heard stupidity is contagious, avoid at all cost.

  • numbpty - 2011-09-21 22:13

    doesnt help fixing the roads when you got clowns driving on them you TWAT!

  • freedom - 2011-09-21 22:18

    The minister of transport stated that most of the serious accidents involved public transport and therefore wants the speed limit reduced to 100km an hour. If mymemory serves me correct public transport is limited to 100km an hr anyway!!! So what prevents them from driving at any speed they wish!!! Besides they (taxis) have their own road rules anyhow, stop streets arent for them, non stopping zones dont apply to them, non driving areas dont apply to them, stopping at an intersection is normal to them, road signs are for normal vehicles!! Mr minister you need to get on the roads more often and actually see what's happening. You are totally acluistic!and that means you are clueless!!!!!! yes speed kills when you don't stick to the rules of the road, reduce the limit to sixty and I guarantee you therewill still be just as many road accidents involving taxis at either high speed or at snail pace, cause no rules apply to them, back to the drawing board!!!!!!!

  • Fairly sane - 2011-09-21 22:27

    Cellphones glued to ears, worn tyres, overloading, unroadworthy vehicles, overtired drivers (commercial and public transport as well as cars), inadequate driver training, "bought" licences, seatbelts not worn, children standing on seats or generally loose (instant missiles for windscreen destruction and flying lessons in the event of a collision). Dropping speed limits will only result in more hairdriers behind bushes and more revenue for traffic departments. Get out there with visible and effective policing of moving traffic violations. Used fixed cameras at more intersections to catch the red-light jumpers and taxis turning right from the front of the straight-ahead lanes as well as speedsters through intersections. Get the overweight officers out there dealing with the real issues.

      Ndlovu - 2011-09-21 23:06

      Trafic cops.... today I recognised them speeding without neccessity and also jumped a red-light... GOVT racers "flash blue" and ignore any limit.. The law-enforcers are the worst!!!

  • Ndlovu - 2011-09-21 22:43

    no worries,,, it may slow down the increasing overpopulation!

  • Matieu - 2011-09-21 22:51

    Nope, you are all wrong. Why don't we ban all vehicles and just walk; that way the accident statistics will come right down. If this is what our "esteemed" Transport Minister believes will solve the problem then I am not surprised that we have such a high accident rate. Seems to be that most of the statements uttered by the higher echelons in government are made by a bunch of idiots. Mr. Minister, the day you actually constructively address the problem and admit the faults in the current system, only then will we will bring the accident rate down. For example, sort out your corruption at your testing stations and licensing departments, have regular mandatory roadworthy tests, have visible/effective traffic police presence (and no, hiding behind bushes trapping motorists does not apply), increase fines astronomically (dare I say even jail the offenders for a few years) for serious offences such as driving under the influence of alcohol, taxi offences, etc. Stop paying lip service to the problem and buckle down and do some effective work for a change.

  • Miles - 2011-09-22 06:34

    Cops sit the whole day manning speed traps while unroadworthy vehicles pass unnoticed. Most horrible accidents involving public transport cannot be attributed to speeding, there are other factors such as fatigue, roadworthiness, bad road conditions etc. Mr Ndebele is worried about revenue than road safety.

      BigD - 2011-09-22 06:53

      your comment is only partly true. If you take an average municipality other than metro's you will find they have one or two cameras at most. So out of 40 to 50 traffic officers where are all the rest of the officers during their shifts. The one or two stitting behind the cameras for a few hours a day will bring down the speeding in those municipalities. We should focus on the other traffic officers, where are they and what do they do in a shift.

      Ke maketse - 2011-09-22 08:40

      @BigD. In Krugersdorp you only get to see traffic officers when there is an accident

  • Truthful James - 2011-09-22 07:58

    The Provinces should invest heavily in Speed Trapping equipment, should this proposal to reduce the National speed limit become law.

  • GeeBee - 2011-09-22 08:10

    I don't think these ministers even think what they say before saying it. The blue light brigades drive like they want and everyone must just get out of the way or risk being shot at or driven off the road. What type of example are they setting to other road users? Maybe him and his co traffic offenders in parlement should set a better example. Look at unroadworthy vehicles and up the testing standards. If somebody is caught with fake license take his vehicle away and lock him up.

  • CyberDog - 2011-09-22 08:15

    Reducing the speed limit will only fill the traffic departments pockets more, it will do little or nothing for the accidents in South Africa. As much as the propaganda leads us to believe that all accidents are due to speed, this could not be further from the truth. Accidents are caused by negligence, and recklessness. Clearly another grand scheme to get more contracts for the road works departments(Probably also run by family and friends of the person suggestion this idea), and more money for the traffic departments.

  • Maryanne - 2011-09-22 08:17

    they damn right it won't! why, because taxi drivers would still speed, drive aggressive and reckless, because they are NEVER held accountable for their actions!

  • CyberDog - 2011-09-22 08:18

    What I propose is that all taxi drivers, and public drivers should legally require advanced driving certificates as part of their requirement to drive.

  • Kerry - 2011-09-22 08:25

    Hmmmm let's think, WHAT is the common denominator every time?? "minibus accident" For goodness sake's not that diffucult to see the point here.

  • Darwinian - 2011-09-22 08:57

    Yet my car does 0-100kph in less than 5secs with a top-speed of just under 250kph.... It is the horrible training, the typical south african road behavior, the ineptness of law-enforcement that are killing so many on the roads.

  • mike881 - 2011-09-22 09:00

    It's not the speed limit that kills - it is the drivers that break the laws of the road that kill.

  • kgakgamatso.phatlane - 2011-09-22 09:03

    How is this proposed reduction going to save lives. If these accidents are happen within the legal 120k/h limit then maybe they have a point but i really doubt that is so. The problem is not with the current limit but with isolated irresponsible drivers who rush to push the limits and endanger other in the process. If this is so then it qualifies the fact that the problem lies with enforcing the laws. SATAWU is correct for a change, the implications of speed reduction in a country like SA will have a negative ripple effect on the economy and logistics supply. Somehow, i have a feeling that this started as pillow talk between minister and .......

  • The Monk - 2011-09-22 09:18

    C'mon people, we saw an article yesterday explaining how the ANC is battling to find and retained skilled people. So, please be understanding. I am sure that lowering the speed limit would help, but only as one measure in a bigger plan that would include improving the quality of roadusers, removing bad drivers, etc.

  • Horza - 2011-09-22 10:00

    The taxi mentioned above has a speed limit of 100kpm.

  • Zambezi - 2011-09-22 10:05

    Get all the unroadworthy taxis and skoroskoro's off the road. Make sure every vehicle has to have a roadworthy certificate (renewable every year - like the UK) and I guarantee you the accident rate will drop.

  • Hayek_rules - 2011-09-22 10:33

    If two vehicles collide with a resulting speed of 200 km/h, the effects will generally be little different compared to a collision with a resulting speed of 240 km/h: The consequences will still be fatalities! Enforce the following first "minister": * Proper driver training and education * Bigger fines for reckless driving, overloading, unroadworthy vehicles, etc * Massively improve road conditions, like potholes * Enforce regular, proper checking of public transport vehicles, especially taxis

  • Sandy - 2011-09-22 10:42


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