Another year. Another
lifetime - can't believe how time flies as you get older. As a youngster
it takes sooo long to get to be an adult, so that you can at last do whatever
your parents never wanted you to do!
The break was needed.
Welcome back to all the regulars, and welcome to all the new 'converts'.
I hope to keep everyone entertained with South African politics for another
Let's not waste too
much time nor space - the festive season has been a sad occasion for nearly
2300 families. That's the amount of people who died on our roads since
December 1. I have been outspoken about the attitude of the majority of
road users for some time now. Aggressive and unconsidered driving. That's
the main cause of the carnage on our roads.
Our man in charge of (should be discharged from) transport, one Minister
Dullah Omar, admitted quite frankly that the government's road strategy
has failed. A quarter more people died compared to the previous year.
That is in spite of all the billboards, the adverts on television and
on radio and in print. What is going on?
The government is going on. Yep, you've guessed. A government who fails
it's people cannot expect those people to take them seriously. With all
the theft, corruption and inability to abide by the law themselves, how
can they expect the nation to 'have to' abide by their laws. The problem
is that we've been living for so long under these conditions, that normal
common sense does not prevail anymore. People take chances. As children
we take chances - that's human nature. That's why countries have laws.
And they should have adequate law enforcers to take care of those breaking
According to newspaper reports our country have a quarter of the manpower
in the police we need. Some say there are about 8000 traffic officers,
other reckon only 5000. Dullah says we have 10000! The main man from the
AA (Automobile Association) says we need at least 22000 more.
Various factors come into play here. Traffic officers (according to Omar)
are trained for six months. When this has been completed they go out there
and man speed traps. The equipment does it all, not much effort from their
side. And the money comes in. Very good money for the local provincial
governments. Yet they still don't have money to keep their antiquated
vehicles on the roads. Smells fishy to me.
I witnessed five Cape Town traffic officers write more than fifty R500.00
parking tickets on one Sunday in Green Point. I also saw (on five occasions)
traffic vehicles driving around (patrolling). One in Cape Town (the city),
one on Chapmans Peak and the others keeping an eye on traffic on the West
Coast road (notorious for bad accidents). The way the Capetonians drive
is proof that moving violations are okay. Don't ask me what Cape Town
decided to do as far as traffic and safety goes over December (except
for writing as many parking tickets as they can), but KwaZulu Natal took
a different view.
Every year they top the charts in road deaths. Every year they have a
strong traffic police presence on all the major routes. A method that
helps tremendously is roadblocks. A quick one here, another one there...
and so they carry on. Checking for drunkards behind the wheel, roadworthiness
and drivers licenses. Unfortunately that did not help much this year.
Heavy fines should do the job, yes? Not so. Ministers are caught speeding!
Needles to say, some excuse of being 'followed' by a suspicious looking
car gets them off. Other speedsters aren't that lucky though. Doing a
177Km/h? Have a 10 grand fine, thank you very much. This is good. It definitely
deterred me from going too fast, and I like speed!
The Arrive Alive campaign has basically 'wasted' R200 million of our money.
This organisation was brought to 'live' five years ago by government to
help bring down road fatalities by 5% every year. The money has been spent
on law enforcement (14.6 million), communication and education (12 million)
and 13.5 million on safety measures at hazardous pedestrian locations
(whatever that is). Yet most of the fatalities were pedestrians!
There is no hiding behind anything - we can criticize as much as we like
but if we don't change our attitudes, this will get worse. And if government
does not get it's house in order, most people will not change their attitudes.
The cherry on the
cake for me though was upon returning, I read an article in the Roodepoort
Record on the putting down of some 400 stray animals. People went to the
local SPCA to protest against the NSPCA (the national controlling body)
for doing this without consultation with the locals (even though the locals
don't give the SPCA - which is a charity organisation - the support they
desperately need). They even prayed for the animals (as far as the report
goes). Catch a wake-up you stupid silly humans! People are being killed
by people on our roads every day! Why not take your anger to where it
can have a more positive effect! If we show our humanity towards the nation,
things will get better! Tolerance.., my goodness, it's tough!