Road deaths cost the state billions

2017-04-23 06:00
(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories


WATCH: Easter road deaths up 51% from 2016

2017-04-21 14:35

Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi on Friday announced the 2017 Easter holidays road statistics.WATCH

Barely hours after Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi released horrific Easter road-crash statistics, in which fatalities grew by 51%, reports that 19 learners perished on their way back from schools between Bronkhorstspruit and Groblersdal surfaced.

The learners – from two Gauteng schools, Refano Primary and Mahlenga Secondary schools – were being ferried in a sprinter minibus headed for their homes in the Mpumalanga towns of Wolvenkop and Verena, respectively, when the school minibus collided with a horse-and-trailer truck on the R25 between Bronkhorstspruit and Groblersdal on Friday.

A few hours earlier, Maswanganyi had told reporters in Pretoria that government hoped that communities would take road accidents seriously.

This after road deaths increased during the Easter long weekend from 156 last year to 235 this year, according to a preliminary report by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC).

Over Easter, there was an increase of fatalities across provinces except in the Free State.

Maswanganyi bemoaned the fact that government spent a total of R147bn annually on road accidents. This figure was in addition to the R33bn spent annually by the Road Accident Fund on paying out injury claims.

He said these funds could be redirected to other government priorities, such as addressing unemployment, poverty and inequality, if driver behaviour improved and crashes were reduced.

Maswanganyi also expressed concern that the crashes and fatalities were happening despite the deployment of more than 18 000 officers to hot spots on hazardous national routes during the Easter holidays.

Authorities noted that most accidents happened on residential and rural roads.

“We emphasise awareness more than enforcement. We cannot have an officer on every corner of our roads. We will continue to improve enforcement policies and strategies,” said Maswanganyi.

Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan said during the tabling of this year’s budget that government would have a balance of R149bn, which would have to be borrowed. This figure was almost equal to the amount spent by government on road crashes and fatalities annually.

In this year’s Budget Review, compiled by outgoing Treasury director-general Lungisa Fuzile, it was noted that the water and sanitation budget was estimated at R125.3bn. This would go towards developing and rehabilitating water infrastructure, including dams, canals, water treatment works, reservoirs and pipelines to connect households. The amount was less than that spent on road crashes annually.

The review also showed that while government forked out billions on road accidents, it was spending less on some of its social programmes.

RTMC board chairperson Advocate Zola Majavu said he was disappointed that the corporation had not achieved its target of reducing accidents by 50% this Easter, citing human behaviour and the lack of consequences as factors.

Western Cape Transport MEC Donald Grant said one of the challenges faced by the province was pedestrians crossing highways. In the Western Cape, 30 000 pedestrians risked their lives crossing highways weekly, despite the presence of bridges and elevated walkways, which were also hard to police.


How do you think road fatalities can be decreased?

SMS us on 35697 using the keywords CRASHES and tell us what you think. Please include your name and province. SMSes cost R1.50

Read more on:    joe maswanganyi

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Senior PHP Developer

Cape Town
Mass Staffing Projects
R480 000 - R720 000 Per Year

Mobile Developer

Cape Town
Goldman Tech Resourcing
R360 000 - R480 000 Per Year

Sales Representative

Cape Town
Pax Staffing Dynamix (Pty) Ltd
R8 000 - R25 000 Per Month

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.