Chabane tragedy: Time to remove trucks from the roads - COPE

MARCH 16, 2015

Following the death of Public Service Minister, Collins Chabane, and his two bodyguards in a road accident on a Limpopo highway on Sunday, the Congress of the People (COPE) on Monday said the accident was “a timely reminder to Government to review our present road rail transport system seeing how heavily it is skewed in favour of road transport”.

The party said that over many years, thousands of people have lost their lives on our roads and many of these because heavy vehicles created an unavoidable hazard.

“Congress of the People is aware of serious discussions in government about suitable modes of transport for goods. We would like to see firm proposals on the table limiting trucks on our roads. Transport of goods by rail is the ideal we as a nation should be espousing and pursuing,” COPE Spokesperson, Dennis Bloem, said in a statement.

“Reverting extensively to rail for transportation of goods will save our roads which have to undergo frequent and costly rehabilitation caused by heavy vehicles.

“Such a move will also take hundreds of trucks off our roads and that will be better for all of us who make long journeys. Many needless accidents with fatal outcomes will be prevented in this way.”

He said that COPE believes that the Road Accident Fund will remain unable to settle all of the claims lodged with it because it will perennially be drastically short of funds.

“The recent petrol levy is only going to ameliorate the situation, not solve it. Government must ensure a drastic reduction of accidents by all the means it can.

“While the reduction of heavy vehicles on our roads will great improve safety for motorists, COPE believes that policing. which is grossly inadequate and hardly a deterrent to reckless drivers on our roads, has to be given immediate attention,” said Bloem.

“Most drivers know that they can get away with a variety of road traffic violations and therefore the carnage on the roads continue unabated.”

The party said it was demanding better policing on the roads.

“COPE demands that Minister [Dipuo] Peters makes professional and honest policing on our roads starkly visible and highly effective.

“The Easter long weekend is the time to show a new determination by government to curb traffic violations. We cannot afford to lose another life, least of all of a man of the calibre and quality of Collins Chabane. Do it in his memory, Minister,” appealed Bloem.

He said the late Chabane was “a dedicated, honest, competent, and hardworking Minister”.

“Out of this tragedy, COPE believes, should come a new attitude to road offences. Minister Peters must ensure that for all of us,” he concluded.