“It is high time government became more involved in the groundwork prevention of road accidents due to negligence. . .”
A huge concern has swept past the transport system in South Africa as of late, as a number of fatalities have been increasing on the streets. It naturally sparks a fear in public transport users as newspaper reports keep developing on road accident stories of mini-bus taxis. In South Africa, public transportation is progressively becoming depicted in gory pictures of minibus crashes, scattered on our roads. One should be assured of safety when boarding the taxi for a service that you actually paid for. Situations such as these make you wonder just where the fourth leg broke to imbalance the table. We will by no means include in this analysis the several taxi drivers who uphold an unwavering obedience on the roads and respect the lives of the precious cargo he carries behind him.
Instead, let’s have a look at a few isolated possibilities that may be the root cause of accidents:
Negligence: When a person is negligent, it means that he or she has behaved in a thoughtless or careless manner, which has caused harm or injury to another person. That could vary from motorists ignoring the rules of the road or driving beyond the speed limit etc.
In one particular case in Western Johannesburg, a clear-cut case of blatant negligence claimed one life when a speeding taxi ignored the basic rules of the road, costing the life of a passenger, when the car collided with a bus.
The incident happened at around 5:50pm, when the taxi shot through a traffic light intersection and was clipped by the bus which was turning right. The taxi then rolled over and landed on its roof.
The passenger was ejected from the vehicle, when a tyre eventually hurled from the crashed vehicle-landed on him immediately afterwards.
The seemingly simple manoeuvre of overtaking/ passing other motorists on the road claims a high rate of fatalities on South African roads. When overtaking is poorly executed, the passing procedure can quickly turn a few seconds on the wrong side of the road into a fatal nightmare.
Much like the thirteen people whose lives were taken in Randfontein in a head-on collision between a truck and a taxi a month ago. The taxi was believed to be overtaking another vehicle when it was met by a truck approaching on the other side of the road and the accident claimed fourteen lives in total.
Many drivers ignore the speed limit and drive well over it. Speed kills, and traveling above the speed limit is a primal cause of a car accident. The faster one drives, the slower the driver’s reaction time will be if one needs to prevent an accident.
Now there are many other causes of road accidents which could fill up an entire list. Never-the-less they call for the greatest of concerns. The inevitable question now becomes “what is being done about this?” Well, firstly responsibility must be taken. I am well aware of how impossible this task may seem. But not when action is taken on a more cooperative approach, whether it be the commuter’s involvement in speaking up or be it an organised corporate body condemning these incidences.
In response to this misfortune, the president of the South African National Taxi Council‚ Phillip Taaibos‚ has apologised for the role taxis play in road accidents in South Africa.
“As the taxi industry we are saying sorry. We will not [feel] ashamed if you were to put the blame solely on us. We are the owners of these taxis which continue to kill your people‚” Taaibos said, speaking at the memorial service of for the 14 victims of the tragic head-on collision between a taxi and a truck in Randfontein.
Rightfully so, did Taaibos address the grave issue in this manner. When deaths are involved people have no room in their hearts foe excuses. They want answers, they want someone to blame and they need reassurance that prevention will be enforced with immediate effect.
Also speaking at the memorial service was Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi Malobane who said: “We are going to talk directly with the taxi drivers that this nonsense must come to a stop.” Malobane’s words echo a tone which the commuter is willing to except. A no-nonsense approach striking right at the heart of the cause.
“We can’t bury people because people are careless‚ they are rushing…to cover as many areas as possible at the expense of our people‚” she added before the grieving congregation.
It is high time government became more involved in the groundwork prevention of road accidents due to negligence, and it is equally time for the commuter to have a voice and speak-up, work together with the authorities to ensure the safety of motorists and passengers alike.
We commend the honourable efforts of responsible public transport drivers who consider the lives of their passengers on a daily basis. It is because of them that the public transportation industry can claim a good name in the provided services. They need to be honoured just as equally as the rotten apples need to be reprimanded. Fortunately, government has increased its’ efforts to monitor ground-zero and take action against offenders on the roads. And people are becoming increasingly aware of that change. These efforts are giving the Average Joe more confidence, a surety that someone is looking out for their best interests. A large part of that confidence began in May 2016, with a door-kicking initiative by the Gauteng Department of Community Safety called Operation ke molao which means “it’s the law” .
The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) reported at least 20 taxi drivers were being arrested across Gauteng for driving without public driver’s permits.
As part of Operation Ke Molao, Metro Police officers were strategically stationed on the roads, where over 130 motorists were fined for different offences including failing to wear seat belts and using cell phones while driving.
There is no doubt that this initiative has struck a new fear in the offenders’ hearts, but yet lawlessness still seems to take prevalence. The best way to remedy the situation is to inform ourselves in order for to be able to take a bold stand with full confidence in our plan of action. Deaths on the road happen every day but we can play a hefty part in decreasing those fatalities by demanding order and respect for peoples’ lives, especially when they’re paying for that service.
See the Application of it’s By-laws below:
The operation is an initiative prescribed in the Public Road and Miscellaneous city by-laws sections 13 (1a) and 15 (4) as a response to public outcry on increasingly unsafe traffic intersections which have become a threat to individual security.
By-laws are necessary for law enforcement and order, including social stability. Section 156 (1) of the South African Constitution provides for powers of a municipality and subsection (2) states that a municipality has the authority to make and administer by-laws for the effective administration of matters, of which it has the right to administer as prescribed in part B of schedule 4 and 5 of the South African Constitution. All existing by-laws undertook a rigorous democratic examination process, because the South African Constitution section 160 (4) states that no by-law may be passed by a municipal council unless (a) all members of the council have been given reasonable notice and (b) the proposed by-law has been published for public comment, thus the South African Constitution gives a municipal council authority to make by-laws which prescribe rules and orders for (a) internal arrangements, (b) business proceedings and (c) the establishment, composition, procedures, powers and functions of its committees.
Public Safety therefore has both a constitutional and moral duty to enforce by-laws. As Public Safety professionals uniquely tasked as first responders to the citizens of Johannesburg, we understand it is absolutely critical that our duties and responsibilities are first and foremost that of maintaining an order that is reflective of the laws that govern our nation and our city.
WRITTEN: LEHLOHONOLO RAMOSOLO