DA calls for reintroduction of 24-hour shift system following devastating deaths of KZN maidens

Issued by Sharon Hoosen, MPL – DA KZN Spokesperson on Transport
12 Aug 2019 in Press Statements

Note to Editors: Attached please find a soundbite in English by Sharon Hoosen, DA KZN Transport Spokesperson.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is deeply saddened by the tragic deaths of six young women on Saturday night after the minibus taxi they were travelling in crashed and caught alight in Pomeroy, near Greytown. A seventh young woman later died in hospital.

The young women, some of whom were as young as 14 years, were returning from a preliminary event ahead of the annual reed dance, hosted by King Goodwill Zwelithini, which takes place early next month. Numerous others were also injured after the driver of the minibus taxi allegedly lost control of the vehicle and crashed, after which it caught alight. Sadly, the driver was also killed in the accident.

The DA is devastated by this loss of life. These were young women with their whole lives ahead of them. We extend our most sincere condolences to their families at this extremely difficult time.

The carnage on KZN’s roads seem to have no end. While the DA acknowledges the provincial Department of Transport’s (DoT) assurance, that it will step up law enforcement to ensure the safety of thousands of maidens ahead of the Reed Dance ceremony, sadly this is too little too late for these young women.

The Department needs to take a far more proactive approach in order to curb the high number of road deaths in KZN.  It is clear that some drivers are reckless and have a complete disregard for the rules of the road on a daily basis. Today, the DA calls on KZN Transport MEC Mxolisi Kaunda to:

  • Reinstate the 24-hour shift system to ensure a traffic police presence around the clock on our roads. This is the only way to root out irresponsible or unlicensed drivers and unroadworthy vehicles and;
  • Introduce a merit system for drivers carrying passengers. This will encourage more drivers to abide by the rules to avoid being de-merited and possibly losing their public driving permits.

What KZN needs is a year round strategy which shows no mercy when it comes to the rules of the road. The DA expects the MEC and his Department to make a sincere effort to stop more precious lives being unnecessarily lost.