By Marshall von Buchenroder (MPL), Shadow MEC for Transport:
High visibility and tough law enforcement all year-round, not just seasonal plans, can curb the high road death toll in the Eastern Cape. Bad practices developed by drivers over the year due to lack of law enforcement become a habit. The province recorded the highest number of road fatalities in the country during the festive season, an increase of 22 %, from 227 in 2014/15 to 278 in 2015/16.
On behalf of the DA, I want to express my sincere condolences to the families who have suffered devastating losses of loved ones during what should be a time of happiness and joy.
Morale amongst provincial traffic officials is at an all-time low due to the on-going debacle surrounding the two-shift system in terms of Resolution 14 of 2009 as well as outstanding overtime payments dating back to January last year. Transport MEC Weziwe Tikana and her department have displayed little political will to bring finality to this issue.
The DA believes that the following steps can be taken by the department, which will have a direct effect in improving traffic policing in the province:
- The establishment of a 24-hour traffic law enforcement service within the province, instead of a season plan.
- The recommendations of MEC Tikana’s task team, that Resolution 14 of 2009 be scrapped, must be implemented immediately.
- Outstanding overtime must be paid.
- All funded vacancies in the department must be filled as a matter of urgency.
- Additional provincial traffic officers should be appointed in according with the organogram of the department.
- The monitoring of stray animals should be prioritized as a contributing factor to road accidents in the province.
- To create satellite offices in addition to the current stations, to alleviate the long distances officers have to drive in order to do patrolling.
Doing the above will go a long way in lifting the morale in the department and ensuring that the two-shift system is a thing of the past. Road safety is a key contributor to a society where citizens can travel freely and have access to opportunities without fear.