Parliament not satisfied with road death figures


Road death numbers not adding up

An opposition motion for clarification by the minister of transport, Ben Martins, on apparent discrepancies in road deaths reported by the ministry of transport has led to a call by the portfolio committee on transport for the minister to meet with parliamentarians to try and establish the reason for what is suspected to have been a major increase in mortality numbers according to recent figures given.

Iian ollisn a letter from Ian Ollis MP (DA), addressed to the chairperson of the transport committee Ruth Bhengu, it was pointed out that “the recent road death toll figures released by the Minister of Transport, Mr Ben Martins, raise serious concerns which require the immediate attention of the portfolio committee on transport. The figures given in the recent annual strategy and budget report of the department of transport indicate a substantial increase over the previous year.”

It was also pointed out that there were discrepancies between the figures released by the department of transport on annual figures generally and studies done by the National Institute of Mortality Studies and the Medical Research Council both in 2012.

Reasons requested

The motion went on to say that the minister “should report on the reason for the increase in road deaths; the estimation of the correct figures; the successes and challenges of current road safety campaigns and what was being done to address South Africa’s poor ranking by World Health Organization (WHO) on the subject.”

Other members of the committee asked whether the high rate of road mortality and thus South Africa’s poor ranking, was the result of road infrastructure collapse, the recklessness of drivers, or a combination of this and other issues.

Chairperson Bhengu said that a specific answer had to come from the minister on these issues and she wanted to know from the department of transport as well on the question of transport of schoolchildren. She was aware that in some instances children “were crammed onto bakkies” and this was lethal, she added.

A reply is expected from the minister shortly.

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