KZN festive season road and safety plan was delayed due to MEC’s skewed priorities

08 Dec 2021 in Press Statements

KwaZulu-Natal Transport and Community Safety MEC, Peggy Nkonyeni, has admitted that the launch of the province’s Integrated Festive Season Safety Plan (view here) was delayed as a result of ANC election-related matters taking precedence.

The admission was made during a recent Community Safety portfolio committee meeting.

The MEC has confirmed what the DA has suspected all along. We regard her attitude – and that of the ANC provincial government – as a slap in the face to all who have lost loved ones on KZN’s roads or as a result of crime.

The safety of our province’s people should be a priority, particularly during the peak festive season. Yet it appears that it has been placed on the back-burner, yet again, as the MEC places political party matters first.

Regrettably, the so-called plan – recently presented to portfolio committee members – also appears to be little more than minutes of discussions with various stakeholders.

Despite province’s poor record when it comes to both road carnage and crime, it is also vague and extremely limited. It lacks information on high-focus traffic areas as well as law enforcement capacity. At this stage, the only known fact is that there will be road blocks.

The plan also fails to adequately address the issues of crime at shopping malls, cash-in-transit heists and house robberies which also see an increase during this time.

According to a recent media report, there were 289 people who lost their lives on KZN’s roads during the 2020/2021 festive season. The number of lives lost during the same period during 2019/2020 was slightly higher at 336.

This means that during the past two peak holiday seasons, a total of 625 people were killed. The DA believes that the decline in numbers last year can be attributed to Covid-19 regulations, rather than the provincial government’s interventions.

This horrific statistic should be sufficient motivation for the MEC and her Department to make every effort to ensure that road carnage is reduced during the current festive season. However, the DA is deeply disappointed by the plan presented.

We believe that the following initiatives should have been included;

– Increased patrols at high accident zones
– The installation of satellite stations at various hot spot areas, along with increased visible policing
– A focus on high traffic zones into and out of main roads with reckless drivers (drunk driving / speed) targeted
– Swift and stern measures against drunk drivers along with daily public distribution of information on the number of people arrested for non-compliance of the rules of the road
– Ensuring that SAPS stations are able to accommodate an increased number of detainees in secure cells under Covid-19 compliant regulations
– A focus on unlicensed and unroadworthy vehicles
– A focus on road maintenance, particularly where potholes are creating a risk to road users
– Increased law enforcement patrols and initiatives with preventative measures against robberies at malls, public places and residential areas
– Preventive measures against any form of protest, particularly those that place innocent lives at risk

It is critical that the MEC and her Transport and Community Safety Departments urgently review the plan presented and tie up the many loose ends that remain. KZN must be a safe province for both its residents and visitors during the upcoming festive season.

The DA will continue to monitor the situation going forward. The ball is in MEC Nkonyeni’s court.