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Potholes and bad driving blamed

By Todani Nodoba and Sapa | Mar 17, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

SOUTH African roads were fast becoming known as the most dangerous in the world, the Automobile Association said yesterday.

SOUTH African roads were fast becoming known as the most dangerous in the world, the Automobile Association said yesterday.

In a scathing statement, the AA blamed the high accident rate on poor law enforcement, bad road conditions and reckless driving.

"South African roads are fast acquiring a reputation as being some of the most dangerous in the world," said AA public affairs head Gary Ronald.

"The equivalent of at least 10 schools' pupils were killed every year on South African roads.

"This is partly due to road conditions and vehicle roadworthiness but more so because of road user attitude."

In Cape Town, the Road Traffic Management Corporation senior executive manager Hlengani Moyana told Parliament yesterday that poorly maintained and damaged roads resulted in at least 17percent of fatal crashes on national roads annually.

Every year, more than 14000 people are killed on South African roads. Of these, 2308 die as a result of poorly maintained roads. These accidents cost the economy R58billion a year.

Moyana said poorly-maintained roads are the second leading cause of road accidents on national roads - after human error.

Ronald said a combination of factors were to blame, including "poor law enforcement, blatant disregard for the law by drivers and the shockingly inept systems that are currently in place when it comes to prosecuting road offenders".

Ronald specifically pointed out the taxi industry, saying there were several examples of reckless and inappropriate behaviour.

But other road users were also guilty - especially when it came to drinking and driving.

Several newspapers have been reporting on bad road conditions and poor law enforcement recently.

Beeld reported yesterday that there were 5648 potholes on roads in North West.

The bad roads cost the government at least R1,8billion annually, Moyana told Parliament's transport portfolio committee.

Nazir Alli of the South African National Roads Agency said potholes are a result of poor management, not lack of funding.

Alli said if roads were properly and timeously maintained, costs would be reduced.

South Africa's roads infrastructure has been deteriorating for 10 years since 1998, according to a Sanral survey handed in at Parliament yesterday.


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