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TRANSPORT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
26 November, 2003
ROAD SAFETY STRATEGIES AND ARRIVE ALIVE PROGRAMME: BRIEFING BY DEPARTMENT; ANNUAL REPORT: ADOPTION
Chairperson: Mr J Cronin (ANC)
Documents handed out:
Operation Juggernaut: Department presentation
Arrive Alive: Strategy Overview & Plans for Festive Season (November 2003 - January 2004)
Joint Project of the National and Provincial Departments: Battle Plan for Operation Juggernaut (Hard copies available on request)
Report on Arrive Alive - Operation Juggernaut during its first week, 9-15 November 2003 (Hard copies available on request)
The Transport Portfolio Committee received a briefing from the Department on road safety strategies and the Arrive Alive programme. The issues raised concentrated on a special project called Operation Juggernaut that aimed to prevent the seasonal increase of road accidents during the holidays. The latest projects and technology were also discussed, such as the Credit Card Verification Device (CVD).
The Chairperson welcomed Mr G Botha (Manager: Standards Co-ordination) and Mr N Letebele (Manager: Safety Promotions) who would present on issues of road safety and the Department's Report on Operation Juggernaut, in the light of continual increase in the number of road accidents during the festive season.
Mr Botha referred to the large number of unlicensed vehicles on the roads, and those with an expired Certificates of Roadworthiness (CRW). These include Heavy Passenger Transport vehicles like buses, bus trains and minibus taxis, trucks and heavy load Trailers. The statistics also showed a high number of expired Professional Driving Permits (PrDP's). The aim of Operation Juggernaut, in support of the Arrive Alive campaign, was to reduce the number of unroadworthy freight vehicles, buses and minibus taxis. Other unroadworthy and unlicenced vehicles, as well as unlicenced drivers, drivers whose PrDP's had expired and drivers under the influence of alcohol, would also be targeted through intensified law enforcement. Major cities with multi jurisdictional enforcement partnerships would be surrounded by a 'ring of steel' so that every suspect vehicle within a 20 kilometre radius of a weighbridge or vehicle testing station would be escorted in for examination to determine the safety of the vehicle. As many as possible special roadblocks would also be set up.
Arrive Alive: Strategy Overview for Festive Season
Mr Letebele reported on the status of Phase 8 of the Arrive Alive programme. He explained the distribution of the R33 million budget that had been assigned by the Road Accident Fund and the Department for the period of November 2003-January 2004. A disturbing statistic showed that on average, almost 40 people died on SA roads every day. The Arrive Alive strategy worked in the following two areas: heavy, visible enforcement, backed up by advertising showing the consequences of unsafe behaviour.
Enforcement would be backed up by Operation Juggernaut that would target heavy vehicles and public transport. A system of interrupted patrolling and roadblocks on main routes would also be implemented. In addition, Project E-Force would pilot the Card Verification Device (CVD) in Gauteng to improve officer productivity and increase offence detection as well as follow up summons and warrants.
Arrive Alive wished to emphasise the need to "humanise" fatalities to ensure that the public understood the consequences of unsafe behaviour. The emphasis of the advertising campaign would be on the effect of speeding and drunk driving.
Mr G Schneemann (ANC) enquired about expired Certificates of Roadworthiness (CRW) and the Professional Driving Permits (PrDP's). How old were the records and what were some of the ways of following up on CRWs?
Mr Botha said that the records went as far back as January 2002. He expressed their desire for closer collaboration with provinces in obtaining the required information.
Mr S Farrow (DA) complemented the Department on publishing a manual for the police that would solve many structural problems.
Mr Botha added that the manual covered every aspect of implementation, including answers to questions of when, where and how to plan an operation so that it could be most effective.
Mr Prince Zulu (IFP) commented that visible policing was very effective and inquired on the extent it had been enforced. He asked whether the law enforcement was up to the discretion of provinces or the national department. He was also interested to find out how the vehicle inspections would affect traffic. Delays in traffic could cause more road accidents.
Mr Botha said that there would not be many delays while the police held their operation of vehicle inspections.
Mr P Sibande (ANC) asked whether there was any grace period for the expired permits. He wanted to know whether the system was linked to provincial or local systems.
Mr Botha explained the procedure was that, after a system had been developed, it was then transferred to provinces and later introduced to local authorities. An example of such transfer of knowledge was the South African National Standards (SANS) on guidelines for vehicle maintenance and on ways to deal with drivers.
Mr Farrow pointed out that the operations described took place within a 20 km radius of testing stations. He asked whether all cars had to be escorted to the station as that could reduce the amount of visible policing in the area.
Mr Botha said that on average, there were 1.32 officers per 100 km and that the Department was currently looking at increasing that number. There was equipment available with which a policeman could screen a truck on the road.
Ms T Shilubana (ANC) commented on a "road culture" that have developed in which the public dealt with traffic officers, speed traps and cameras. People learned to use flicking lights to inform other road users to slow down. Unfortunately, after passing the "danger point", they started speeding again. She proposed that traffic officers be more visible.
Mr Botha said that the visibility of traffic officers affected the drivers significantly. The police needed to frequently change the 'hotspots' and increase camera surveillance hours in order to be more efficient.
Mr Sibande said that it was wise to continue such projects as E-force, and campaigns like Operation Juggernaut and Arrive Alive, to make people more aware of the consequences of reckless driving.
The Chairperson complemented the Department's media strategy to move away from simply showing statistics and numbers of victims, towards a more 'human-concerned' focus.
Mr Farrow commented that getting the message to the public implied spending large sums of money on various projects and campaigns. There was a degree of a moral responsibility on petrol sellers to sponsor these campaigns.
The Chairperson noted that the programmes should not only be implemented during the festive season, but throughout the year to ensure daily integration of national coherence. Part of the structural problem was that the National Department, with the support of the Cabinet, had been unable to secure proper co-operation with provinces around the key issues.
The meeting was adjourned.
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