THE dispute over how many people have died on our roads over the last festive season compared with those who died a year earlier is as pointless as Transport Minister S'bu Ndebele says.
But it is Ndebele and his people who should take the blame for playing the numbers game. It was his officials who came up with the scare tactic that road deaths were heading towards being second only to HIV-Aids deaths of South Africans by 2020.
The ministry could not say where they had sourced those numbers from or how many it projected would lose their lives.
Now that the numbers they have relied on have been proven to be unreliable, Ndebele is making the noises he should have made in the first place: any death on our roads is one too many. Fact is even in countries with the best road behaviour, people still die while using roads.
The flip-flopping on the numbers demonstrates that the Transport Ministry is definitely fixated on the figures even when it thinks they are meaningless or of little value.
It is a pity that that seems to be their attitude.
Knowing how many people die and where and how they do, and in which vehicles they had been travelling when they met their end, is important for coming up with strategies that work to curb the numbers and counters the carnage on our roads.
So instead of quibbling over numbers, we should rather be putting our heads together to say how we can defeat the monster on our roads.