The South African Government has called on all road users to resist the temptation to engage in reckless behaviour on the roads during the Easter holidays, as traffic volumes are expected to increase.
“Road safety is a collective responsibility that requires all of us to play our part in appreciating that the road is a shared space and take responsibility for our actions,” Minister of Transport Sindisiwe Chikunga said on Friday.
She made these remarks during the pass out parade for the 21st Century Cadre and the launch the 2023 Easter Road Safety Campaign at an event held at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville.
“It is important to note that human factors remain the leading causes of road crashes, contributing 85% of all root causes. We must intensify our focus on human factors and introduce measures to reverse this trend. “Road users have a duty to observe the rules of the road and respect the rights of others who have as much right to use the road, be they pedestrians, cyclists, motorists or motorcyclists,” Chikunga said.
The Minister launched the Easter Road Safety Campaign under the theme: #Zithibe, meaning Resist the Temptation.
“This theme is a clarion call to all road users to restrain themselves and resist the temptation to engage in reckless behaviour on the road. Such behaviour will be met with the full might of the law.
“This is equally a call for motorists to resist the temptation to drive at excessive speed; drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and to resist the temptation to talk on cell phones or using other electronic devices while driving.
“For pedestrians this is a call to resist the temptation to cross the road when it is not safe to do so and avoid hitch hiking on busy arterial routes during peak travel periods. This is also a call to the traffic officers to resist the temptation to take bribes and allow offenders and those driving unroadworthy vehicles to go unpunished,” the Minister said.
She said the arm of the law is long and will reach everyone who thinks they can perpetuate lawlessness with impunity.
The launch took place against the backdrop of a pass out parade of about 250 young men and women who recently graduated to join the ranks of traffic law enforcement officers.
“This is a proud moment not only because it adds to the boots on the ground, but because it signals a new era in traffic policing. As we celebrate the pass out of the first cohort of graduates with a National Qualification Framework level 6 qualification, we are creating a career path for these young men and women to lead a new generation of traffic officers.
“A new generation that will bring to the table fresh and innovative solutions to the intractable challenge of the carnage on our roads,” the Minister said.
The traffic officers have completed an intensive three-year training programme. Before the introduction of this qualification, traffic officers were trained for a year on a NQF level 4 qualification, which is equivalent to matric.
“It gives me immense pleasure to announce that this first cohort of traffic officers will be resuming work on 2 May 2023. For a one-year period, they will be probational officers, thereafter they will be confirmed for permanent employment.
“It is critical to say that the confirmation of a permanent employment status will be based on their performance and conduct as public servants.
“To the new recruits I would like to remind you that you are now part of a profession that expects its members to show the highest levels of discipline, integrity and honesty, and the highest levels of care and respect for the people you serve,” the Minister said.