Ricochet News

'Road death toll climbs while Department of Transport does nothing'

Aug 28, 2018
'Road death toll climbs while Department of Transport does nothing'

The Department of Transport continues to sit idly by, paying lip service and sending condolences, while the carnage on Eastern Cape roads continues to claim lives, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Tuesday.

"This past weekend, at least 22 people were killed in nine separate crashes on the province’s roads, with the death toll expected to rise as critically injured individuals fight for their lives in hospitals across the province," explained Marshall von Buchenroder, the DA's Eastern Cape Shadow MEC for Transport.

"The accidents have been attributed to reckless and negligent driving, but despite this the Provincial Traffic Department has failed to take the necessary corrective measures."

He said that statistics show that the highest number of accidents occur between 10pm and 4am, but there are no provincial law enforcement officers on duty in the Eastern Cape at that time.

"In her 2018/19 budget speech, MEC for Transport, Weziwe Tikana announced that she would be embarking on the rollout of 24-hour traffic law enforcement on the province’s roads.

"However, in a recent response to a parliamentary question, the MEC confirms that this has not happened," von Buchenroder added.

"It has been five months since the new financial year and no progress has been made. In fact, the rollout of this initiative has been further hampered due to lack of proper consultation with labour and unions.

"Even the initial pilot project has failed to see the light of day, with the rollout now pushed back to December 2018."

He said that, further to this, is the low morale of traffic officers, who have not been paid overtime for months, "and it is not surprising that we are seeing lawlessness increase on the roads".

"With no signs of visible policing at night, we can expect these heart breaking and totally unnecessary deaths to continue unabated," von Buchenroder said.

"I am calling on the MEC to prioritise the rollout of 24-hour traffic law enforcement, and bring law and order back to the province’s roads."