MEC for Transport Peggy Nkonyeni has been urged to prioritise road safety. | GCINA NDWALANE
MEC for Transport Peggy Nkonyeni has been urged to prioritise road safety. | GCINA NDWALANE

KZN Transport MEC urged to prioritise road safety

By Thabo Makwakwa Time of article published Oct 14, 2021

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DURBAN - Richard Benson, of the Road Safety Action Campaign, has urged KZN Transport MEC Peggy Nkonyeni to prioritise road safety as it is a matter of life and death.

Benson was reacting on Wednesday to the revelation by the DA – following the party’s demand for answers from Nkonyeni – that there were discrepancies within the province’s Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI), which had not captured traffic infringements since 2019.

Echoing the statement from the DA, Benson said that traffic infringements and relevant fines were not being properly processed in KZN.

“All matters which affect road safety must be prioritised, as road safety is a matter of life and death. The fact that in the UK there were 1 472 road deaths in 2020, but in South Africa our total is believed to exceed 14 000 begs a question as to why South Africa has not introduced the 30km/h speed limit recommended by the UN for city and town roads, designed to almost end pedestrian deaths – which alone account for nearly half of all road deaths in South Africa.”

Benson called on the DA to oblige the government to comply with UN and other road safety standards and, if necessary, to obtain a Constitutional Court order obliging it to act before more people died.

The DA on Wednesday expressed its concern on the Auditor-General’s (AG) report into KwaZulu-Natal’s Department of Transport – tabled during a meeting of Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) on Monday.

The DA decried the department’s change to a new Opus traffic management system in 2020.

According to the DA, the RTI reported R465 million in revenue. However, the AG believes that this was understated by R157m.

“The RTI previously operated under the Trafman system, but moved to the Opus system in May 2020. The move was aimed at ensuring that traffic infringements were captured more efficiently. At the time that the Opus system went live, there was a declaration by all RTI station commanders confirming their commitment to the project.

“It is now evident that these were just hollow pledges, since the very individuals responsible for ensuring traffic infringements were properly recorded are clearly disinterested. This is despite the fact that this is a revenue-based project and – most importantly – that it would also mean more law-abiding drivers on our province’s roads,” said Sharon Hoosen, DA KZN spokesperson on transport and community safety.

“Remedial action has only recently been recommended by the AG. However, at this stage, it remains very uncertain as to whether any of the traffic fines will reach the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).”

According to Hoosen, what made the matter worse was that the RTI terminated its contracts with summons servers in April 2019. This was after it employed individuals who did not have vehicles, making it impossible to deliver any summons to traffic infringers in time.

The DA has called on Nkonyeni to act urgently on this issue in light of the coming holiday season.

Department spokesperson Thubani Vilane had not commented by publication deadline.

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