The National Department of Transport (DoT), in its presentation to the Portfolio Committee on Transport (PCoT) regarding the festive season road safety plan, highlighted the R573 Moloto road as the most dangerous stretch in South Africa.
During the presentation by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) on behalf of the Department of Transport, it was noted that the R573 Moloto road has the highest number of crashes in the country. The RTMC report emphasised that the R573 Moloto road is a critical route, witnessing more fatal crashes over the past five years, with a total of 33 crashes claiming the lives of 38 people.
What is particularly concerning is that, despite this knowledge, the department, through the RTMC, still lacks adequate measures to prevent these fatal crashes. The DA expressed several concerns based on the RTMC presentation:
• The deployment of the National Traffic Police (NTP), especially in Mpumalanga which lacks a scientific basis or data-driven approach.
• The deployed NTP in Mpumalanga that is not operational 24/7, unlike the DA-led Western Cape provincial traffic authorities, which implements a 24/7 shift system for traffic law enforcement.
• There is no dedicated integrated intelligence operational centre to support officers on the ground.
• The RTMC lacks the deployment of technology to assist officers, interventions such as the deployment of drones for managing and dealing with traffic law enforcement are absent.
• RTMC does not include or consult traditional leaders in their stakeholder engagements, especially along the R573 Moloto Road in Mpumalanga.
Given these revelations, the DA is concerned that the RTMC lacks a watertight plan to ensure the reduction of fatalities on the R573 Moloto road.
Another significant concern for the DA is that the department appears to be operating with a blank cheque for their festive season budget, as they could not account for how much has been budgeted and allocated for this road safety campaign. The DA will continue to ask these critical questions in our endeavour to hold government accountable.