Passenger deaths spike at the start of festive season

By Donald Grant, Western Cape Minister of Transport and Public Works:

The first 14 days (December 1st to December 14th 2015) of the festive season have seen a slight increase in the number of fatalities on Western Cape roads compared to the figures for the same time last year. Comparative road deaths are up 12% from 51 in 2014, to 58 deaths so far this December. Even more concerning is the spike in passenger deaths in the same period (from 6 deaths in 2014, to 18 deaths this December thus far).  Saturday, the 12th of December 2015, saw the highest number of deaths on a single day since the beginning of December: 11 deaths including 8 passengers and 3 pedestrians.  Some fatal crashes have been reported in areas like the N1 near Beaufort West, where high traffic volumes are synonymous with this time of year.

While passenger deaths have risen sharply in the first 14 days of the festive season, pedestrian deaths have  gone down by 29% from 35 deaths in 2014 compared to 25 deaths this year during the same period. Pedestrian deaths are still far too high, with road death statistics  showing that not only are pedestrian deaths continually the leading class of fatality, but also that poorer communities are disproportionately represented in pedestrian death statistics, with black males, aged 20 – 34, being the highest risk demographic.

With traffic volumes set to increase as the festive season continues, I urge all motorists to be extra mindful of pedestrians on our roads, particularly at night when many pedestrians are likely to have consumed alcohol.

Pedestrians must also ensure that they are highly visible to motorists at all times; that they steer clear of pedestrian no-go areas, namely highways, where it is not only dangerous for pedestrians to walk, but also illegal; and that they do not take to the roads after consuming alcohol.  Alcohol consumption and road use remain a deadly combination for all road users, particularly pedestrians.

Freeway hotspots for pedestrian incidents:

  • N1 from Brackenfell to Joostenberg Vlakte,
  • N2 from Cape Town International Airport to Spine Rd,
  • N7 adjacent to Du Noon,
  • Vanguard Drive from Masemola Rd to the R300,
  • R300 from Vanguard Drive to the N2.

 

Safely Home has launched a multimedia campaign focussed on the dangers associated with alcohol and road use, titled “Alcohol and the Road Don’t Mix”. The campaign is  live on the Safely Home website, www.safelyhome.westerncape.gov.za, twitter: @WCGovSafelyHome hashtag #BoozeFreeRoads, and is supported by radio advertisements on various leading radio stations, and VMS message board messages on busy highways. #BoozeFreeRoads was specifically targeted at both motorists and pedestrians, with drinking and driving, as well as drinking and walking, both proving to be a deadly combination on our roads.

The focus areas for our law enforcement activities remain drink driving, speed, and most importantly at this time, fatigue management. The horrific crashes we see on our roads, particularly on long stretches like the N1 and the N2, can undoubtedly be attributed to one (if not all) of these contributing factors. I encourage all road users to be mindful of the dangers that exist on our roads, and be informed of all these factors as they take to the roads during this busy time.

Having your vehicle checked ahead of holiday could save your life

By Donald Grant, Western Cape Minister of Transport and Public Works:

Today I had my official vehicle checked at a local testing station for compliance with vehicle safety standards. This check formed part of a series of vehicle inspections done in partnership with the Retail Motor Industry (RMI) Organization. The RMI run campaigns every year around vehicle safety, encouraging motorists to have their vehicles tested regularly to ensure safety and compliance.

My official vehicle passed the safety check, with no defects needing rectification. I urge all motorists to subject their vehicles to these safety checks, particularly ahead of this festive season where many people will be taking to the roads as they head to their various holiday destinations.

The Safety Test, conducted at a testing station, included the checking of the following items:

  • All lights including indicators
  • Seat belts
  • Wipers
  • Front Tyres
  • Rear Tyres
  • Foot-brake front
  • Foot-brake rear
  • Hand-brake
  • Steering mechanism (steering control arm, steering box and tie rod ends)
  • Front and rear suspension
  • Exhaust
  • Wheel alignment

Motorists must also ensure that their vehicles have valid roadworthy certificates as required by the law. Ensuring that your vehicle is safe decreases the likelihood of your vehicle being involved in a crash.

Last week Friday, 11 December 2015, we also launched our Western Cape Festive Season Operational Plan 2015/2016, to complement the Safely Home #BoozeFreeRoads campaign that will run over the next two months. Vehicle fitness forms an important part of the enforcement plan, with 220 Vehicle Check Point (VCP) operations to be conducted across the province to check that vehicles are safe and have the necessary documentation.

Our vehicle fitness efforts are also extended to public transport, with the City of Cape Town’s Traffic Officials currently conducting free vehicle inspections on public transport vehicles at Joe Gqabi and other public transport interchanges. The inspections are part of our “Public Transport Sticker Project”, which is a joint initiative of the Department of Transport and Public Works and the City of Cape Town’s Traffic Services. The initiative is aimed at ensuring that public transport vehicles are fit to transport passengers over this busy festive season.

The project is implemented over the Easter and Festive Season “Exodus” periods, where many holiday-makers will be making use of public transport to travel to their destinations across the province, and beyond. Vehicles are tested for fitness and roadworthiness, and if they are in good working order, are issued with a sticker that verifies that the vehicle has been inspected.

I should like to thank all road users, motorists, and stakeholders who continue to work with us, in partnership, to make our roads safer and to save lives. I especially should like to thank RMI for conducting the check on my vehicle this morning, and for providing free vehicle checks to other motorists as part of their campaign. We remain committed to doing all that we can to improve safety and compliance on our roads, particularly over the holiday periods.

You can follow the festive season campaign on the Safely Home website, www.safelyhome.westerncape.gov.za, and twitter: @WCGovSafelyHome under the hashtag #BoozeFreeRoads

Photographs attached courtesy of Safely Home

Minister Grant with Joy Oldale from RMI and a testing officer from the facility

Minister Grant with Joy Oldale from RMI and a testing officer from the facility

Minister Grant and Testing Officer 2

Minister Grant and Testing Officer 2

Minister Grant and a testing officer checking his vehicle

Minister Grant and a testing officer checking his vehicle

Minister Grant to get his vehicle tested and urges holiday makers to do the same

Media Advisory:

Tomorrow, Tuesday 15 December 2015, Western Cape Minister of Transport and Public Works, Donald Grant, will have his official vehicle tested at a local testing station to ensure compliance with vehicle safety standards as is required by law. Such checks are increasingly more important during the festive season, as many take to the roads on long journeys to their various holiday destinations.

Minister Grant will have his vehicle checked, while encouraging all other road users to do the same. These vehicle checks are done in partnership with the Retail Motor Industry (RMI) Organization, who run campaigns every year around vehicle safety and encouraging motorists to have their vehicles tested regularly to ensure safety and compliance.

Vehicle fitness forms part of our festive season enforcement efforts, with various operations to be conducted across the province to check the roadworthiness of vehicles, and to discontinue vehicles that are deemed unsafe to be on our roads. Too often unsafe vehicles, coupled with unsafe drivers, have resulted in deadly collisions on our roads which could have been avoided had the vehicles been checked before embarking on various trips.

Media are invited and welcome to attend. There will be opportunity for photographs and interviews. Please indicate via email if you will be in attendance.

Venue:                       AVTS Culemborg Motor City, Christiaan Barnard Boulevard (formerly Oswald Pirow Street), Foreshore, Cape Town

Date:                          Tuesday, 15th of December 2015

Time:                           11h00 – 12h00

Best meets worst in Gauteng transport department

By Justus de Goede, DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Transportation:

In his address on the tabling of the annual report for the Department of Roads and Transport, MEC Ismail Vadi provided additional detail on last month’s near-tragic incident on the Pretoria/Hatfield line of the Gautrain where a lorry ended up on one of the tracks.

Only ten days later have normal services resumed.

While the cause of the accident is still unknown, it was bizarre enough to raise questions around the mechanical causes.

While being grateful that a disaster was avoided, in large part thanks to the reflexes of the train driver, Gauteng residents must be thinking about the irony in this particular incident: the Province’s best, public transport system derailed by a component of probably the worst aspect of our transport systems, heavy road vehicles.

Those who listened to last week’s debate, would have heard the DA point out the disgraceful results obtained by heavy vehicles at just one Johannesburg testing centre where close to seventy per cent of vehicles inspected had serious defects.

Given these shocking results, the question becomes not will another incident happen, but when?

For years the safety record of heavy vehicles on Provincial roads has been sporadically discussed after major crashes, but no follow-up action ensues.

The MEC’s department should take the unpopular step needed to force transport operators, including bus operators, who flout vehicle safety and maintenance guidelines, to keep their vehicles out of service until they are once again roadworthy.

This is the very least that can be done to end the suffering and economic damage we see daily on our roads.

Traffic Officials must be more visible on our roads during the festive season

By Jane Sithole MPL, Interim DA Spokesperson on Safety and Security:

The following member statement was delivered by Interim DA Spokesperson on Safety and Security, Jane Sithole MPL, during a sitting at the Ehlanzeni District Council Chambers today.

Honourable Speaker.

I rise to deliver a member statement on behalf of the Democratic Alliance.

With the festive season upon us, the number of road accidents are already starting to increase. Taxis, trucks, passenger vehicles, busses etc. are all vulnerable to accidents.

With Mpumalanga sharing a border with two countries, the amount of traffic on our roads will also steadily increase.

Bad driver behaviour and fatigue are the leading causes for accidents on our roads, with intoxication following suit.

All people travelling on our local roads need to be attentive and ensure that their behaviour does not add to the death toll on our roads.

As such, The DA calls on the MEC of Safety and Security Vusi Shongwe, to intensify all programmes relating to road safety and ensure that traffic officials are more visible on our roads. We further call on all drivers to obey the rules of the road and be extra vigilant during this time.

I thank you.

DA debates Gauteng 2014/15 Roads & Transport Annual Report

The following speeches were delivered in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature today by the DA’s Neil Campbell MPL, Justus de Goede MPL and Graham Gersbach MPL during a debate on the Gauteng Roads & Transport department.

 

Speech by
 Neil Campbell MPL

“Concerted and proactive departmental efforts key to achieving road safety targets”

  • The underfunded Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport must prioritise projects by value for money
  • Tough dialogue must take place in order to deal with taxi violence, flouting of traffic laws, operating licence delays and taxi subsidisation on the agenda.
  • The DA is pleased with planned revitalisation projects as rail must become the backbone of passenger and freight transport.
  • Arbitrary bus contract renewals must stop and a real route and subsidy needs-analysis and longer contracts which allow bus recapitalisation must start.
  • To obtain a licence many would-be drivers bribe officials who allow untested drivers loose on our roads while un-roadworthy vehicles are passed by corrupt testers

 

Speech by

Justus de Goede MPL

“Public transport crucial to efficient Roads & Transport department”

  • The Province has to take the lead in assisting municipalities to cope with rising demand for services.
  • Gauteng has a backlog of 10 000 transport operating licences and officials have lost hope with no catch- up plan.
  • The Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works has invaluable lessons and support for the Gauteng Department, however all these efforts will be in vain without the necessary commitment and dynamism from leadership.
  • At the root of taxi violence is a tangled history of incompetence, corruption and open contempt for the law.
  • Public transport is essential to this province and it is very concerning that a Committee visit to a Johannesburg testing facility revealed that almost 70% of heavy vehicles tested had potential lethal flaws.

 

 

Speech by

Graham Gersbach MPL

“Residents need accessible ways of reporting road infrastructure issues”

  • The residents of Bonaero Park, Bredell and neighbouring suburbs have expressed their thanks for the on-going rehabilitation of the lighting at the Atlas Road off ramp.
  • The department should strengthen relations with municipalities in order to provide a simple and accessible process of reporting road infrastructural issues.

Streetiquette campaign reaches many during week of performances

30 November 2015, marked the end of Safely Home’s November Pedestrian Safety Month, which featured a multimedia campaign on various radio stations and online, under the #WalkSafe hashtag, as well as the innovative #Streetiquette campaign done in partnership with Open Streets Cape Town (OSCT) and the City of Cape Town. The campaign ran over the course of last week, with one more performance scheduled for Thursday, 3 December 2015, during First Thursdays on Bree and Wale Streets.

 

The campaign took the form of a series of street theatre interventions aimed at highlighting the dangers of irresponsible road use in a creative and interactive way. We are pleased at the positive response that the campaign received from the many road users that ultimately became a part of it, and hope that more and more people are now thinking differently about their behaviour on the road and about adopting safer practices, particularly when walking to their various destinations.

 

#Streetiquette is inspired by a popular form of engagement in Latin America in which colourful performances and interactive theatre are used to tackle unsafe and irresponsible behaviour on urban streets by motorists and pedestrians. The campaign aims to trigger self-observation, self-reflection and, ultimately, self-education, and has been adapted for local audiences. This campaign comprised four different skit performances, directed by Mandisi Sindo from Theatre for Change: Little Red Riding Hood; Gogo on the Loose; Soccer Referee; and Mourning Wreath. All four were performed by a crew of three professional actors, Iman Isaacs, Richard September, and Aphiwe Livi (photographs attached).

 

Little Red Riding Hood

 

The Little Red Riding Hood performance was created especially for a younger audience, particularly the school children who frequent the corners of Darling and Buitenkant streets in the CBD, who were very receptive to the campaign. The story was based on the classic tale, but adapted to show Little Red Riding Hood afraid to cross the street until the Huntsman comes to her rescue by showing her how the traffic lights can help her. Once the pedestrian light turns green, she is on her way, successfully finishing her journey while the red pedestrian light flashes. She then encounters the Big Bad Wolf in a (cardboard) car who has stopped in the pedestrian crossing, preventing her from crossing the street when the traffic light is green for her. She manages to circumvent the disrespectful wolf driver and crosses the street after a few acrobatic manoeuvres.

 

Video of this performance can be viewed on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjIB0u6Qvq4

 

Soccer Referee

 

This was a simple concept aimed at all ages, performed at the corners of Long and Wale Streets. Two players, one in red and another in green, were given red cards by the soccer referee when they weren’t respecting the rules of the road, and a green card when they were, similar to what happens during a soccer match. Pedestrians and motorists were also presented with these cards depending on their behaviour at the intersection to symbolise the importance of adhering to the rules of the road at all times.

 

Video of this performance can be viewed on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsLRRxeAjso&feature=youtu.be

 

Gogo on the Loose

 

This performance was of a Gogo walking with a walking stick, attempting to cross the street at the Plein Street pedestrian crossing. Considered the most entertaining, the aim of this performance was to encourage other road users to show patience and tolerance, and always to be mindful that the road is a space we all share and are responsible for in terms of safety.

 

Video of this performance can be viewed on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PodYD9W1vl0

 

Mourning Wreath

 

This last performance involved a funeral acted out at the corner of Adderley and Bureau streets, in front of the Slave Lodge. A child-sized bicycle symbolised the death of a small child run over by a vehicle, accompanied by a large sign depicting one of many horrific statistics relating to the plight of children on our roads. The sign read “50 child pedestrians have died in Cape Town this year”. A procession walked across the street and stopped where the bicycle and bunches of flowers were to show respect.

 

Video of this performance can be viewed on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYorWQ8NFEA

 

Other performance of “Go Stop” pedestrian team can be viewed on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1aVpDN5id4

 

We know that over 2 800 pedestrians were hit by vehicles in central Cape Town from 2005 to 2014, which means a pedestrian has been struck in the area approximately every 28 hours for the past 10 years. More than 450 of these cases resulted in serious injuries. The issue is serious, and requires an urgent change in behaviour from all road users to curb this scourge.

 

We will continue to do all we can to get this very important message across to all road users, particularly as we move towards the notoriously dangerous holiday season, where safety on our roads takes centre-stage. We hope that increased awareness will spur a positive behaviour change in all road users, thereby saving thousands of lives that would otherwise have been lost senselessly on our roads.

 

To get involved in the action on social media, tune into the hashtags #WalkSafe, #SafeRoadsForAll and #Streetiquette and keep an eye on @OpenStreetsCT and @WCGSafelyHome

 

About Open Streets Cape Town

Open Streets is a worldwide movement of citizens who are reclaiming their streets as public space. Open Streets Cape Town (OSCT) is a not-for-profit organisation founded in 2012 by a group of volunteers committed to a more equitable, integrated, safer and vibrant city. OSCT seeks to build shared places that embody respect for all and help bridge the social and spatial divides of Cape Town. OSCT works in partnership with the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Government. www.openstreets.org.za

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Matric rage celebrations not a time to act irresponsibly

Joint statement by Western Cape Minister of Education, Debbie Schafer and Minister of Transport and Public Works, Donald Grant:

Today, candidates in the 2015 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations will write the last of the major examinations, History Paper 2.

Exams are scheduled to end tomorrow, Friday 27th November 2015, but many candidates will today be heading to annual ‘matric rage parties’ in towns across the province, particularly in Hermanus and Plettenberg Bay.

To those candidates who are finished writing, please be mindful that some candidates will write up until 27th November 2015. We appeal to those candidates to stay focused in these remaining few days.

Matric candidates have worked very hard to get to this point in their lives and while their desire to celebrate is understandable, we appeal to them to do so responsibly.

We encourage all candidates who will be participating in ‘matric rage parties’ to do so responsibly, and to use additional registered car services and public transport services that are available when travelling between venues. Candidates must also refrain from getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. Candidates must exercise caution when on the roads, and ensure that they:

  • always obey the speed limit and other rules of the road
  • avoid distractions whilst driving
  • avoid late night driving where possible, or driving when tired
  • ensure that they and their passengers are always buckled up

Provincial and Municipal traffic services are on high alert over this period, and ready for any eventuality. A no-nonsense approach will again be adopted to any transgressions during this time. Let us work together to ensure that this time of celebration isn’t marred by reckless and irresponsible behaviour that endangers lives. We must work in partnership to avoid any unnecessary injury or death at all costs.

We are grateful that such celebrations in recent times have been conducted without any serious incident. We hope that this year will be no different.

Candidates are also reminded that they must be available to write up until the 9th of December to cater for any eventuality that may arise.

We appeal to all matric candidates to not spoil what should be a well-earned celebration. You have the rest of your lives ahead of you – a moment of irresponsibility can have a lifetime of consequences.

Metrobus strike causes unnecessary harm to commuters

By Cllr Nico de Jager, DA Johannesburg Shadow MMC for Transport:

The DA calls on Metrobus drivers to return to word and return transport services to normal while resolving their tax issues with the entity.

Yesterday Metrobus workers went on a wildcat strike and held officials hostage at head office until Managing Director, Mr Mavela Dlamini accepted their demands.

Mr Dlamini received their demands at around midnight last night.

Since January 2015, when a revised HR structure was put in place, too little Pay As You Earn (PAYE) deductions were made from drivers’ salaries, despite numerous requests from drivers to address the issue.

Management never gave feedback, only to deduct the shortfalls all at once when bonuses to drivers were paid out – resulting in the strike.

While the DA appreciates their legitimate concerns, we believe that drivers should have, through their union representatives, followed proper dispute resolution procedures with Metrobus management when the problem first arose.

Yesterday’s actions have not only soured relationships with management and possibly put their jobs at risk, but also caused serious inconvenience to thousands of people who rely on Metrobus to get to work and back.

It is in the best interests of Johannesburg’s people to resume public transport services as a matter of urgency while drivers’ unions and Metrobus resolve this dispute.

Parks Tau must take a stand against SAMWU

By Cllr Nico de Jager, DA Johannesburg Shadow MMC for Transport:

The DA calls on Metrobus drivers to return to word and return transport services to normal while resolving their tax issues with the entity.

Yesterday Metrobus workers went on a wildcat strike and held officials hostage at head office until Managing Director, Mr Mavela Dlamini accepted their demands.

Mr Dlamini received their demands at around midnight last night.

Since January 2015, when a revised HR structure was put in place, too little Pay As You Earn (PAYE) deductions were made from drivers’ salaries, despite numerous requests from drivers to address the issue.

Management never gave feedback, only to deduct the shortfalls all at once when bonuses to drivers were paid out – resulting in the strike.

While the DA appreciates their legitimate concerns, we believe that drivers should have, through their union representatives, followed proper dispute resolution procedures with Metrobus management when the problem first arose.

Yesterday’s actions have not only soured relationships with management and possibly put their jobs at risk, but also caused serious inconvenience to thousands of people who rely on Metrobus to get to work and back.

It is in the best interests of Johannesburg’s people to resume public transport services as a matter of urgency while drivers’ unions and Metrobus resolve this dispute.