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Peters says provinces need Sanral's help

Adam Wakefield

Recognising her department's challenges and Sanral's strengths, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters has asked the agency to oversee certain roads in SA.

Transport Minister Dipuo Peters. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

Provinces have asked the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) to take over certain roads as they recognised their own limitations and challenges, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said in Pretoria on Tuesday.

Provinces recognised the strengths Sanral brought to road maintenance, she told reporters.

"So it is one way of also making sure we can contribute to better road maintenance. [More than] 10% of good roads in South Africa are mostly under Sanral.

"That is why provinces ... are also looking at building the capacity and benefiting from the capacity of Sanral."

Peters said the North West, Limpopo, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal were already benefiting from Sanral's management of some of their roads.

"We have developed a new model where instead of one service provider having oversight over the entire nine provinces, we have broken down provinces into [groupings of] three, four and two."

This would ensure government conducted appropriate oversight. She said the total value of road maintenance backlogs was around R150-billion, which dwarfed the budget allocation provinces received.

'Moral conscience of our society'
Peters said bribing traffic officers contributed to the lawlessness on South Africa's roads.

"We are appealing to the moral conscience of our society ... You contribute [through bribery] to allowing vehicles that are supposed to transport people becoming weapons," she said.

"But also, you contribute to allowing people to become murderers."

Given the knock-on effect it had on road safety across the country, corruption should be dealt with.

"We need to deal with corruption because it is that level of corruption that increases the carnage on our roads," Peters said.

Preliminary Easter weekend figures this year showed 193 people were killed in 148 crashes across the country.

The report was compiled by the police, evaluated by the Road Traffic Management Corporation, and verified by provincial transport departments.

Road deaths
KwaZulu-Natal had the highest number of fatalities with 49 (from 39 crashes), followed by the Eastern Cape with 36 (19), Limpopo 30 (23), and Gauteng 23 (22).

Mpumalanga had 19 (18), Free State 15 (nine), followed by the Western Cape with eight (six), North West seven (seven) and the Northern Cape six (five).

In 2013 there were 241 deaths from 201 crashes. In 2012 there were 217 deaths in 181 crashes.

According to Peters, this meant headway had been made in reducing the number of crashes and road deaths in South Africa. This was despite growth in both population size and the number of vehicles on the road.

Pedestrians accounted for 40% of those killed.

"This figure has become an almost permanent feature in our statistics. We need to really deal with the 40% of pedestrians. That is our biggest barrier right now."

She said 283 323 vehicles were stopped and checked, 43 433 notices issued, 1094 vehicles discontinued, 1 457 vehicles impounded, 330 motorists were arrested for drunken driving, and 10 motorists arrested for reckless or negligent driving.

The figures captured were for the period starting from Thursday midnight, April 17, to midnight on Monday April 21. – Sapa

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