NORTHAM – On 20 November 2011, a Day of Prayer was held on the R510 road to Northam, where numerous recent accidents caused people to loose their lives.
The event was well attended by various churches from Smashblock and Northam. Col. Schmidt of Northam welcomed and presented the purpose of the prayer. Other speakers include Northam Traffic department under the department of Roads and Transport. The event was attended by Mayor Patricia Mosito, councillors, SAPS members, CPF members under the leadership of Mr Lucas Moselakgomo who was the programme director for day, representative from Anglo Platinum, Pastors, congregation, taxi associations and traffic officials from Thabazimbi Municipality.
“Road safety is a key priority of the South African government, 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week, and 365-days-a-year. However, road safety is not only government’s responsibility; road safety is everybody’s responsibility. We are all affected by road crashes,” said Mayor Mosito in her address.
The greatest partners in this struggle against road carnage must be those who have lost relatives and friends in road crashes. The second group of partners in this fight must be the very young, who are yet to acquire bad driving habits, to whom wearing a seatbelt, not drinking and driving can still be acquired as a force of habit. The third set of partners must be the religious sector who shoulders the burden of burying the dead every day of the year somewhere around the world.
“It is the living who close the eyes of the dead, but it is the dead who must open the eyes of the living,” said Mosito.
Over the coming weeks, traffic volumes on our major highways will peak with thousands of vehicles heading to various destinations for the December festive season. The time of festivity will have truly begun! Friends and families will take their deserved holidays, hoping to re-kindle their energies in preparation for the New Year 2012.
The tragedy of our road statistics is that often, when we talk about deaths on our roads, we forget that behind the numbers are babies barely out of their mothers’ wombs; behind these numbers are young people with dreams of a bright future; mothers and fathers who leave behind their families with no source of income.
In South Africa, our challenges pertain to dangerous behaviour and attitude of road users. These include driving while intoxicated which plays a major role in crashes, lack of compliance in respect to seat belts, speed and losing control of the vehicle. In addition, fatigue, moving violations and pedestrian deaths account for a major portion of all fatalities. Added to these, vehicle and driver condition also contribute significantly to crashes.
“We are repeating our calls for all public transport operators to ensure that no long-distance trip is undertaken without a relief driver. Drivers of public transport vehicles, especially buses and taxis, cannot be expected to drive hundreds of kilometres for several hours without a relief driver on board, when fatigue is a major contributory factor to road crashes.
Only you and I can stop this tragedy. Let us celebrate this festive season by appreciating the most precious gift that we have all been given, the gift of life. As we celebrate, let us do so aware of our responsibility to others on the roads. Let us drive to save lives, and end death on our roads!” concluded the Mayor.