The Democratic Alliance (DA) today calls on KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Transport MEC, Bheki Ntuli, to urgently commit to the restructuring of the Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) in order to increase the presence of law enforcement officers on the province’s roads.
The call comes after a spate of horrific crashes in KZN this weekend. According to reports, 12 people – including a child – lost their lives after a minibus taxi veered off the road between Underberg and Bulwer, crashing down an embankment. Three other occupants of the taxi sustained severe injuries.
In two other incidents in the Ladysmith area, seven people- including a motorcyclist – were killed in an apparent hit-and-run while another five people were injured in two separate road accidents.
The DA is deeply saddened by this severe loss of life. We extend our sincere condolences to the families of those who have passed away under such tragic circumstances. We also convey our best wishes for a speedy recovery to those who have been injured.
It is clear that current measures by the MEC and his Department, to improve road safety in KZN, are not working and that there is an urgent need to increase the presence of RTI on our roads – 24 hours a day. This is particularly relevant as we approach the festive season, with its high traffic volumes. Despite the fact that we know that road fatalities increase drastically at this time, there is currently no effective plan in place to address this.
Reckless driving, speeding and the failure to abide by the rules of the road continue to be a major contributing factor when it comes to many lives being lost and the time has come for the MEC and the DoT to address the crisis that exists within the RTI. Most importantly, they must urgently review filling the more than 232 vacant posts that exist.
The MEC and his Department need to commit to proactive, preventative measures and there is no better time than right now. We cannot continue to lose lives on our roads – not when we know that effective, visible policing works when it comes to reducing road fatalities. The DA expects MEC Ntuli to prioritise this issue. One life lost is one too many.