South Africa loses 14 000 people in road accidents annually, translating to a 10.5-billion-dollar loss for the country’s economy for the period, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Saturday, 5 October 2019.
The president said this when he launched a new road traffic law, as he dressed himself in a traffic officer’s uniform on a road in Pretoria.
He flagged vehicles and interacted with the drivers with a road safety message.
“It is up to each of us not to drink and drive. There should be no need for families to plant crosses and place flowers along our sidewalks and roadsides” in memory of departed road users, Ramaphosa advised the drivers.
He added: “It pains me that our country continues to experience 14 000 road deaths a year which are costing the country’s economy some 10.5 billion dollars.”
Ramaphosa signed the new road traffic law, known as the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act, earlier this year.
On his part, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said the country’s public transport needed to be made safer and more efficient than is the case currently.
“We intend to open a major social dialogue about funding our transport. But it’s not enough. We need to expand on that.
“We need to move people (passengers) from the roads to rail transport but these also must be made efficient and safer,” Mbalula said.
The new law builds on the decade-old road safety campaign dubbed drive to “Arrive Alive” as South Africa observes October as a Transport Month.