Limpopo's fatal road accidents in the spotlight at traffic indaba

2018-10-25 16:30
An accident scene in which 27 people died on the N1 north near Kranskop, Limpopo. (Supplied)

An accident scene in which 27 people died on the N1 north near Kranskop, Limpopo. (Supplied)

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The spate of fatal road accidents in Limpopo, traffic congestion on the N1 and the chaotic state of public transport were some of the issues at the centre of discussions at the Transport Indaba held in Polokwane on Thursday.

The horrific accident that occurred on the road between Modimolle and Mookgophong last Friday was the last straw for authorities who have committed themselves to remedying the situation in the province. Twenty-seven people died when a heavy-duty truck burst its front tyre and ploughed into oncoming traffic including a 22-seater taxi bus.

"We are dedicating this indaba to the people who lost their lives in the accident last Friday and we need to come up with lasting solutions to problems that cause all these accidents," Limpopo transport and community safety MEC Makoma Makhurupetje said.

Several institutions including the Passenger Rail Agency South Africa (Prasa), the Gateway Airport Authority Limited (GAAL), the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) and the South African National Small Bus Operators' Council (SANBOC) took part in the indaba.  

Bad road infrastructure

SANBOC's Olivia Maponya spoke of how the bus industry contributes to economic growth. However, she pointed out the serious challenges facing the industry that often lead to accidents.

"The bad road conditions impact severely on the maintenance cost of buses especially the suspension and tyre cost. The conditions on the road also cause latent structural damage to the bus body and chassis which only manifest much later and shortens the lifespan of the buses," Maponya said.

Prasa's Daisy Daniel said the reintroduction of a passenger train between Johannesburg and Musina would contribute to the reduction of traffic congestion on the N1. The service was discontinued a few years ago due to decline in passenger numbers, poor financial performance and lack of resources.

Daniel also presented statistics showing potential growth should this route be reinstated.

Government blamed

GAAL also presented its strategy aimed at stimulating both commercial and general aviation in Limpopo by creating an environment that enables aviation to prosper.

GAAL's Elmien Koedyk said part of the strategy was to use existing airports in the province that have been lying idle.

Tackling the question of why the taxi industry was reneging on its founding arrangements, Santaco president Phillip Taaibosch pointed the finger at the government.

"Turbulence in the taxi industry takes many forms but is almost always over the right to operate a route. Regrettably, it is all too often accompanied by violence. The public then demands to know – 'Who is to blame?'" Taaibosch said.

"If government had stuck to the agreements, we would have a far more stable taxi industry. Instead we have chaos," he said.

Read more on:    polokwane  |  accidents  |  service delivery  |  transport

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