- Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula noted 774 deaths resulting from 637 road accidents in SA in January
- Mbalula and the Road Traffic Management Corporation announced the inaugural 2022 road stats highlighting the carnage
- The mood on social media took a sour turn as citizens bashed Mbalula for dwelling on problems and not solutions
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JOHANNESBURG - A scary picture was painted around the number of crashes resulting in road deaths when Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula released the first monthly 2022 national road statistics on Monday.
Mbalula recorded that 774 people were killed in 637 road accidents that occurred in January, leading to an increase of 78 per cent and 75 per cent, respectively, compared to the same time last year.
Noting the new monthly stats committed to by the Department of Transport and the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) at the end of last year, Mbalula said the accidents took place over the weekend and at the beginning of a new week in most cases.
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According to a New24 report, human behaviour accounted for 90 per cent of the collisions. Factors such as the weather contributed to only five per cent of all crashes, with vehicle factors, including roadworthiness, accounting for four per cent.
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Traffic officers to act decisively
"To act against drinking and driving, 961 drivers were arrested in the last month. Commonly, traffic fines were issued for speeding, operating a vehicle without a driver's license and the lack of proper vehicle maintenance," said Mbalula.
The minister warned road users against committing violations as the efforts by traffic law enforcement authorities would continue. Briefly News understands the monthly road stats will serve as a way for the government to address the carnage on the roads, reportedly among the highest in the world.
Mbalula's announcement comes days after his engagement with taxi operators in Cape Town over concerns around the Covid-19 Taxi Relief Fund (TRF) scheme. The minister embarked on a roadshow with taxi associations, encouraging operators in the province to apply for the funding, IOL reported.
Citizens displeased with Mbalula
Not all were impressed with Mbalula's announcement, with many noting he was rehashing the same problems as in recent years but not taking action to address the issues. Briefly News takes a look at some of the backlash directed at him.
@Timothy Steven wrote:
"Mr Fikile – no use giving stats when nothing is being done to bring down these fatalities. Sometimes you must look at comments from these posts because you could learn a lot. Many good ideas from citizens."
@Sizwe Godlo said:
"What's his job then? What are these results suggesting, that he should be concerned? As if he didn't know, or he is just not delivering as expected."
@Nadia Fortune added:
"So, the Minister of Taxis is not even ashamed of these stats?? Useless and incompetent. Step aside and let someone younger take charge, someone who actually earns this ridiculous salary!!"
SA's only driver's license card printer in operation
Elsewhere, Briefly News previously reported that Mbalula cut a delighted figure on Wednesday, 26 January, as he announced that the country's only driver's licence card printing machine was finally back in working order.
As if South African motorists had not had their fill of poor road infrastructure, record fuel price hikes, and then some, the 20-year-old machine's near three-month-long dysfunctional state only served to worsen an already bad headache.
It had reportedly broken down on 7 November before adding to an existing backlog of expired driver's license holders waiting in line to get their reissued cards.
"I visited the staff at the Driving Licence Card Account (DLCA), spending the afternoon with them. The licensing card printer has been repaired and is in working order. The staff is pulling day and nightshift to ensure your licenses are made and delivered," said Mbalula.
Source: Briefly News