Radley Keys, MPP
DA KZN Spokesperson on Transport
SPEAKER, human life is of paramount importance within our Constitution. At the outset may I, on behalf of the DA, extend our condolences to the family and friends of Mr Tim Ncube, the journalist killed in the collision involving one of the King’s VIP protection unit members, and also to the family and friends of the policeman, Thembinkosi Bafana Mpanza, who died in that same collision. We also wish the injured victims a speedy recovery.
Speaker, on behalf of this Legislature, we extend our sincere apologies to the victims and their families for these untimely and tragic deaths, and to the injured, for a practice adopted by MEC’s. The practice I am referring to is the abuse of blue lights by members of the VIP protection unit and the presumption that they are above the law. To name but a few there are Nxumalo and Ndlela who are currently on trial for firing shots at motorists on the freeway, there was Mrs Jude Ward who was assaulted in the charge office. There are many more who have complained about VIP unit members’ actions and attitudes.
The questions that beg answers are;
– Are KZN MEC’s and VIP protection unit members above the law? Evidently the answer is a resounding YES.
– Is being late for meetings a life threatening situation? Evidently again, a resounding YES.
– Are the lives of the ordinary motorists of any consequence? Evidently NOT.
– Is every blue light convoy dealing with a life threatening situation? Clearly NOT.
– Who are the MECs afraid of? The very people that voted them into power?
Speaker, when we voted in a new democratic government in 1994, South Africa extricated itself from a police state, where fear of the police ruled supreme. What we witness today is a dangerous slide back towards those days where, if one sees a blue light convoy, they fear for their lives. This is not the society we voted for. This is not the society we want to go back to. Indeed Speaker, everyone must muster whatever resources they can to bring an end to this slide into dictatorship of the few.
The DA calls on the Premier to instruct his MECs and the VIP protection unit to lead by example and respect the rules of the road, the lives of all road users and their property. Let us not forget that we are in a democracy where we are deemed equal, in fact guaranteed equal, before the law. There is no one that is more equal that another – unless of course we are part of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. We are elected to serve, not to ride rough shod over people who some treat as lesser beings.
Further, we call on the MEC of Transport to instruct the RTI to prosecute all people infringing the rules of the road, including MECs, Mayors, VIP members and any other person endangering the lives of others. Through example we can show we are serious about reducing the carnage on our roads. Let us not avoid the real issue by retreating into denial.