DATE: 11 April 2012
Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele today launched the Pedestrian Safety Campaign in Johannesburg in conjunction with Eqstra Fleet Management and Logistics, the United Nations and the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory in support of Nelson Mandela Day.
In South Africa, around 14,000 people are killed every year on our roads. This is the equivalent of over 1,000 deaths every month, and 40 deaths a day. These statistics are of epidemic proportions.Road deaths account for 100 billion US dollars a year in developing countries alone. Africa has the highest road injury fatality rate of all World Health Organisation regions, at 28.3 deaths per 100,000 people.
Road safety is an issue which touches both rich and poor, young and old. In 2010, as South Africa was celebrating the opening of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, our former president, Nelson Mandela, knew the pain of losing a great-grandchild when 13-year-old Zenani Mandela was killed.
“There is no greater tragedy than the loss of human life. The Department of Transport has been tasked with curbing road deaths and promoting a safe passage for all in South Africa. We are determined to clamp down on reckless behaviour on the part of both drivers and pedestrians,” said Ndebele. “To reduce pedestrian road deaths, each one of us must take responsibility for our actions.”
The Pedestrian Safety campaign aims to stabilise and reduce those statistics, through awareness and education programmes, targeting both drivers and pedestrians. It will address the number and severity of road crashes involving pedestrians.
“As a fleet management and logistics company, we at Eqstra recognise that it is our corporate responsibility to contribute to the reduction of road deaths statistics,” said Jacqui Carr, CEO of Eqstra Fleet Management and Logistics. “With the help of our partners, we aim to make a meaningful difference to pedestrian safety.
The Think Pedestrian programme will be implemented initially in Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga, before being rolled out in other provinces.”
In 2010, the United Nations proclaimed the period 2011–2020 as the Decade of Action for Road Safety, with a goal to stabilize and then reduce the forecast level of road traffic fatalities around the world by increasing activities conducted at the national, regional and global levels. It has the goal of saving five million lives.
United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, when launching the Decade of Action on 11 May 2011, said that “the Decade of Action for Road Safety can help all countries drive along the path to a more secure future… Today, partners around the world are releasing national or citywide plans for the Decade, hosting policy discussions and enabling people affected by road crashes to share their stories widely. Now we need to move this campaign into high gear and steer our world to safer roads ahead. Together, we can save millions of lives.”
For more information on the Decade of Action for Road Safety –Think Pedestrian campaign visit www.thinkpedestrian.co.za
For more information on the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety: http://www.who.int/roadsafety/decade_of_action/launch/unsg_statement/en/index.html