By The Hon. Mr. Blessed Gwala MPL

KwaZulu-Natal Legislature Pietermaritzburg: 8 April 2010


Hon Speaker 


The extremely high levels of road accidents in South Africa, including our Province, are a serious concern to the IFP. Believe you me; whenever you leave your loved ones every morning and you have to be part of multitudes of road-users - whether as a driver or passenger - you leave your family fearful of whether or not you will see them again. Our roads have become graveyards. We have reached the levels where the deaths on the roads have come to be accepted as one of the things that happen in this country.  


Most unfortunately, most deaths and accidents involve public transport in one way or another. And this is very unfortunate because millions of the people of our Province and the country have no other choice; they have to use taxis, busses or trains as they go about to attend to their daily needs.    


And again, what is most unfortunate is that most accidents in this country occur because of human error, or, to be blunt; they occur because of the "I-don't-care" and "me-first" attitudes so prevalent on our roads. The behaviour of South African drivers is very inhuman generally-speaking. And this behaviour, just like other problems that plague our country, is a reflection of a nation that is losing the fight against immorality and inhumanity; a nation that is fast stooping to the levels lower than those of animals; where human life is one of the cheapest things.  


Hon Speaker, the company under discussion today, SA Roadlink, has been implicated in many accidents which have cost many lives and produced many victims. The Hon. MEC has already enumerated some of the accidents and other unfortunate incidents in which this company has been involved dating as far back as 2006.


This therefore places immense responsibilities of the government of the day, and the relevant Minister, to do something dramatic to save the lives of the innocent victims of such behaviour. Because no government worth their salt would fold their arms in the face of escalating road accidents which claim multitudes of our people.


We as the IFP therefore support the MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, the Hon. Mr. TW Mchunu in the steps he intends embarking upon to deal decisively with the issue of SA Roadlink.


However, let it be recorded that SA Roadlink is not the only cause of road accidents in this Province and country. I have already referred to the drivers, and passengers as well as pedestrians who just do not care anymore and who have no regard for anybody else. In addition, we have the challenges within the taxi industry where some owners and drivers behave as though they own not just the roads but also the people on the roads.


Our position therefore is that the steps taken against SA Roadlink must be the first in a serious and concerted campaign to deal swiftly, justly and decisively with all - I mean all - who behave like animals on our roads.


And the MEC must be seen not to be sectarian in the way he deals with these animals; nor must he succumb to any pressure or allow any interference in his work. I say this because we have knowledge for instance to the effect that one senior government official intervened on behalf of one Department's former Spokesperson who had been arrested for drunken-driving here in Pietermaritzburg. I am not saying that the MEC was involved in this. I am only citing this case because it highlights that some of the MEC's challenges might come from political interference with the work of his Department.