Premier Soccer League and Orlando Pirates chairman Irvin Khoza has urged motorists and pedestrians to obey the rules of the road because pedestrians who die on the roads are soccer fans.
Khoza was speaking in Durban yesterday during a media briefing on the forthcoming Hamba Uphephile Soccer Tournament to be played in KwaZulu-Natal at the weekend.
The tournament will involve Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs, AmaZulu and Lamontville Golden Arrows. It is aimed at boosting pedestrian safety on the roads.
Khoza said it was important for soccer teams to participate in such tournaments because they lost hundreds of supporters on the roads.
"We are participating in this initiative simply because the people dying on the roads are our supporters. Life is sacred. It is not fair to lose a parent, a sister or a child. We will never get used to death."
Khoza said it was important for the players to live a positive life and obey the rules of the road. "When players do wrong things, they are conveying a wrong message, so we would like to see them obeying the rules of the roads. We lost so many of our players on the roads and that is not right," said Khoza.
He said it was also critical for them as football clubs to take part in such campaigns and should not wait for December to start talking about the importance of road safety.
Chiefs team manager Bobby Motaung said his club had been involved in such campaigns for a long time and they felt it was fitting to take part because "whatever touches people, touches the team.
"Kaizer Chiefs is the most-supported club in the country, but if we continue losing people on the roads, it means our support base is decreasing. That is why we are intensifying the safety campaign."
MEC for transport Bheki Cele said people tended to look at road statistics as just numbers. "What people don't know is what happens after five people have died on the roads. Houses are shut down. Children drop out of schools," he said.