ISSUED BY GERHARD KOORNHOF, MP
UDM SPOKESPERSON FOR FINANCE
details have been revealed regarding South Africa's road carnage, by the
Minister of Transport, in reply to two parliamentary questions posed to him by
A question dealing with the roadworthiness tests conducted during Easter 2000
revealed that 22.7% of the 36 405 vehicles tested were not roadworthy. These
results illustrate how thousands of commuters' lives are endangered, with the
most common offences including defecting or worn brakes, malfunctioning
steering, as well as unsafe tyres. In addition, the Minister admits that corrupt
officials at vehicle testing stations contribute to this situation and tacitly
A second UDM question to the Minister regarding the amount of accidents in which
people died or were seriously injured, elicited the following shocking
statistics. For the year of 1998 (statistics for 1999 are not available) 511 605
traffic accidents were reported, 36 246 people were seriously injured, and 9068
people were killed on our roads.
Calculating the cost of these accidents in terms of vehicle damage, lost output,
pain and suffering, medical cost, administration cost and legal costs, the
Minister estimates that the overall cost to the economy in 1998 was a staggering
R 13 billion.
The Minister's repeated commitment to improving the situation is welcomed.
However, we urge Government to give immediate attention to what is undoubtedly a
huge crisis. An annual loss of more than 9000 lives on our roads is simply
unacceptable. The estimated economic cost represents R 13 billion of lost
opportunities for thousands of South Africans.
The UDM urges the Minister to investigate all the factors contributing to the
high accident rate, specifically to determine whether current strategies are not
overzealously focussing on some factors (such as speed) whilst other factors
(such unroadworthiness or driver incompetence) require more attention.
An immediate and uncompromising approach to deal with corrupt officials must be
developed and applied vigorously. These corrupt officials are gambling with the
lives of innocent victims.
We welcome the Minister's announcement of an extensive plan, Strategy 2000 -
2004, and urge him to consider a holistic approach. The UDM proposes that
an effective strategy to address the problem will have to involve other
branches of Government; the Department of Education should commit itself to
teach responsible road usage to our children from an early age.
Dr Gerhard Koornhof, MP
UDM Spokesperson for Finance
6 September 2000