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PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORT
16 November 1999
BRIEFING BY THE DEPARTMENT ON "ARRIVE ALIVE"
Documents handed out:
Arrive Alive Road Safety Campaign: Slide Presentation
Briefing Notes: Road Crashes, Enforcement & Structural issues in Road Traffic management
Business Plan towards the Implementation of the Road Traffic Management Strategy
The Ministry of Transport briefed the Committee on the latest developments in the Department of Transport and the ARRIVE ALIVE Road Safety Campaign. With the co-operation of local and provincial governments the department has put in place several initiatives to improve law enforcement on the road. There is confidence that the ARRIVE ALIVE campaign will continue to reduce accidents on the road during the coming holidays.
The Ministry of Transport, represented by the Minister of Transport, Mr D Omar, the Manager: Ministerial Secretariat, Mr A Crewe, the Manager: Road Traffic Management, Mr L Mangcu and the Manager: Media Liaison and Corporate Communication, Mr M Mabasa briefed the committee on the "ARRIVE ALIVE" Road Safety Campaign.
The Minister said that he is very alarmed at the decline of infrastructure in the country and expressed the view that this area needs development and must be at the top of the debate. As for rural development the Minister is very pleased with the work done in this area by the Deputy President, Mr Jacob Zuma, but believes that more could be done.
The Minister said that transport by rail is of great importance and the use thereof, both as freight and passenger service, can not be allowed to decline in the way it has.
As for the Road Accident fund a new board needs to be appointed as the old board vacated office at the same time as "old parliament". The reason for the delay is that the Department had to wait for the new Committee to settle in and it is hoped that the selection process will start soon.
To reduce road traffic accident fatalities the Minister said a Road Traffic Management Strategy (RTMS) has been introduced. The success of the RTMS is dependent upon co-operation between National and Provincial and Local government. In the belief that consultation is important, a number of meetings were held with MECs of provinces. In the short period the department has build up goo relationships with provincial and local governments. For the process of implementation an official body, consisting of members of provincial and national government, have been put in place. To get started funding of R50 million is needed, for which provincial and national governments are pulling together resources.
The Minister went on to say that the success rates for the prosecution of road traffic offences over the last few years have been unacceptable. To overcome this problem and to ensure the collection of fines the Administrative Adjudication System for Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) has been introduced. The major benefits of AARTO would be to ensure speed prosecution and certainty in prosecution of road traffic offences. The Minister said that the implementation of AARTO is not going to be delayed by the lack of funding. At present less than 25% of fines are paid, with the implementation of AARTO the payment of fines would definitely improve. The larger function of AARTO would be to promote safety on roads and ensure that rules on the road are followed.
The ARRIVE ALIVE campaign of last year is said to have ensured a reduction in accidents and deaths on the road. The Minister believes that this momentum should and would be maintained this year. The Minister said that a large amount of accidents occur due to negative driver behaviour and studies have shown that pedestrians also influence the accident rate. The ARRIVE ALIVE campaign focuses on negative driver behaviour and is designed to also consider and cater for the influence of pedestrians.
The Minister concluded by thanking the media, as he believes that media coverage played an important role in last year's campaign.
Mr J Slabbert (IFP) asked the Minister what is being done regarding the high number of accidents involving buses.
The Minister responded that all role players have been consulted and an agreement was reached to limit the speed of buses to 100km/h, this would extend to minibus taxis. It is hoped that this limitation would be promulgated by the end of next week.
Mr A Crewe said that accidents on the road are a major problem for the department and the country at large. He went on to say that the annual growth in registered vehicles and consequently the increase of vehicles on the road adds to the burden of ensuring safety on the road. Road safety is emphasised more during the holiday seasons, when more vehicles are on the road. The introduction of the ARRIVE ALIVE Road Safety campaign in October 1997 has ensured that people become more aware of the dangers on the road. The campaign has since its induction proved to be highly successful, resulting in a decrease in road crashes and road accident fatalities. The campaign has also achieved the introduction of the use of breathalyser tests as evidence against offenders in court, which in itself has assisted in combating drinking and driving. Though a decrease in road accidents through the campaign Mr Crewe believes that more could be done, as statistics are still high.
Mr L Mangcu said that as part of the ARRIVE ALIVE campaign several development have been made in terms of stepping up the enforcement of road safety in all the provinces. In the Western Cape, an arrangement between the Department of Transport and the Department of Justice was made for two temporary courts to be set-up in the area between Laingsburg and Beaufort-West. From next Monday this area would be declared a zero-tolerance area and any person caught speeding or breaking any rule of the road would be dealt with accordingly.
In the Kwazulu-Natal region a specific campaign on buses and trucks have been lodged and to date inroads have been made as several trucks and buses have been removed from the road.
In the Eastern Cape 36 traffic officers have been allocated to remove vehicles not roadworthy and to date 19 buses have been removed, including a Translux bus.
Mr L Mangcu was confident that, despite scarce resources, law enforcement on the road would be more visible over the holiday period.
Mr E Lucas (IFP) asked why traffic officers doing duty at speed traps do not look at other traffic offences.
Mr L Mangcu responded that this is a fundamental problem and is largely due to training given to officers. There is awareness of this problem and therefore traffic officers are encouraged to look for all offences when doing duty at speed traps.
Mr A Ainslie asked whether, with the scarceness of human resources, reservists have been considered an option.
Mr L Mangcu said that the use of reservists have been discussed, but was rejected by the provinces. Only the Western Cape is pursuing the matter, but within the province there is no agreement.
Mr A Ainslie asked if drinking and driving is a major problem for the ARRIVE ALIVE campaign, why are petrol stations and restaurants around tollgate areas allowed to sell liquor.
Mr L Mangcu said that he had no answer to the question. The Chairperson, Mr J Cronin (ANC), said that a letter from the Committee would be send to the Portfolio Committee of Trade and Industry, as that is a more appropriate committee to deal with the question of liquor sales and liquor licences.
A question was asked about corruption in the Traffic department.
Mr L Mangcu said that corruption is a major concern and the Minister has made this a priority.
The meeting was adjourned.
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