Transport minister launches Easter holiday safety campaign

Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga.

Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga.

Published Mar 23, 2024


The executive mayor of Mkhondo local municipality in Mpumalanga, Ngelosi Ndhlovu, has called on the transport minister to help her municipality deal with the scourge of potholes in the area.

Speaking during the launch of this year’s Easter holiday safety campaign in the area, the mayor said her municipality needs help to resolve the issue of decaying roads and infrastructure in order to avoid road fatalities.

“We aim to combat road carnages with the same vigour and determination that the people of South Africa displayed when they faced apartheid. We have a new struggle now. We have children at home getting knocked by speeding vehicles as they go to school…

“Parents must teach their children traffic safety. We also have a problem with drunk driving and people walking and driving while drunk,” she said.

The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) has indicated that traffic volumes are expected to to start picking up as early as next Thursday morning, and will stay high until midnight.

On Friday, traffic volumes will start increasing early in the morning and will return to normal after 2pm.

Addressing the issue of potholes and bad roads, the mayor warned travellers to avoid certain roads as they were not in good condition.

“We plead with the minister; some of the roads are bad. Please help us with Operation Vala Zonke here in Mkhondo, because some of our roads are riddled with potholes. We want Operation Vala Zonke to deal with the roads affected by floods. Sometimes we try to fix the roads but then the rain comes and disturb the grading of roads,” Ndhlovu added.

Minister of Transport Sindisiwe Chikunga has called for motorists to adhere to safety regulations and avoid drunk driving this Easter holiday season.

On Wednesday this week, the minister was in the company of Mpumalanga provincial leaders, including MEC for Public Works, Roads and Transport, Mandla Ndlovu, and MEC Community Safety, Security and Liaison, Vusie Shongwe, as well various representative from the transport industries including taxi and truck associations.

This year’s Road Safety Awareness Campaign was launched at Mkhondo Stadium under the theme: “Fika Usaphila” (Arrive alive). Motorists and road users were warned to stay at home and avoid travelling while drinking.

During her keynote address, the minister warned motorists who failed to obey traffic rules and abide by the rules, that they face being imprisoned. She also warned that those who obtained their licences fraudulently would be arrested.

'We cannot tolerate individuals who are drunk from Monday to Monday, nor can we accept young people walking around with bottles of alcohol,“ she said.

Chikunga said the increase in fatalities was due to the increase in the number of motorists on the country’s roads.

“While South Africa did not have many cars in the past, the country has reported an increase every year. I believe we now have at least 13 million motor vehicles in South Africa, with no fewer than 12 million drivers,” she said.

The minister also revealed that her department had set itself a target of reducing road fatalities by 15% over this period following last year’s increase in the road carnages. A total of 252 fatalities were recorded, representing a 37% increase compared to the same period the previous reporting period.

"Every province has been given a target based on the number of fatalities experienced last year. The province of Mpumalanga must reduce the fatalities from 20 to 17, Limpopo from 43 to 37, KwaZulu-Natal from 64 to 54, Gauteng from 47 to 40, Eastern Cape from 41 to 35, Free State from 21 to 18, Western Cape from 28 to 24, North West from 10 to nine, Northern Cape from four to three,” Chikunga added.

The department, working with stakeholders, also revealed that the deployment of law enforcement agencies on key routes in provinces such as KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State, the Western Cape, Limpopo and the Eastern Cape would be prioritised to curb the number of fatalities.

Saturday Star

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