Abide by road rules to reduce fatalities

SALTA Column

Greetings and compliments of the new season to all of our members. I hope everyone entered into the New Year peacefully and without any negativity. For those afflicted by any negative actions or the passing of loved ones, my wish is for God to give them strength and courage.

So many lives are lost during the holiday season and the cost of lives are attributed to the same factors each year. Fatigue, drunk driving, unroadworthy vehicles, potholes, speeding and drunkards walking around at night are costing lives.

As drivers, we need to take breaks when driving for long distances – if possible, at two-hour intervals. Fatigue can lead to fatalities on the road as people fall asleep behind the wheel and this causes a huge impact in everyone’s lives. Many of the fatalities we learn about are a direct result of fatigue coupled with speeding.

Our government must also make sure that roads are maintained and that there are always visible traffic police on our roads. If we can follow these basic rules then surely the number of fatalities can be reduced

I was privileged to be invited to the Africa Road Safety Conference hosted by Anheuser-Busch (AB InBev), South African Breweries (SAB), and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) in collaboration with the eThekwini Municipality Academy and the International Training Centre for Authorities and Leaders.

The aim of the conference was to look at interventions that can assist government in preventing fatalities on our roads. We learnt that every person must play a role in preventing road fatalities. We need to have tougher laws and road users must stick to the rules when using our roads. The rules of sticking to the stipulated speed limit, not overtaking when prohibited from doing so, making sure that your vehicle is roadworthy, not overloading, respecting other road users, and, most importantly, not drinking and driving, are there to keep all citizens safe.

Our government must also make sure that roads are maintained and that there are always visible traffic police on our roads. If we can follow these basic rules, then surely the number of fatalities can be reduced.

On another note and back to the liquor industry, I am concerned by the slow pace of the liquor board with regards to the court order in dealing with our shebeen permits, which expire on 2 November 2019. Having said this, I am relieved by the assistance we received from the SAB in assisting our members with this judgment. One of the biggest challenges faced by our members in applying for liquor licenses is the issue of consent use and rezoning. In some municipalities, especially the City of Joburg, it’s impossible to apply for a consent letter. However, we have learnt that the City of Joburg has since amended this by-law and as from February this year, our members residing in townships will be able to apply for consent letters. We salute the City of Joburg for this.

In closing, I sincerely hope that this year will be better for all of our members.

Mish Hlophe

SALTA President