Lolling on a battlefield

Surprise, surprise: the Medical Research Council has found violence and traffic accidents were again the main causes of unnatural deaths in South Africa last year.

Surprise, surprise: the Medical Research Council has found violence and traffic accidents were again the main causes of unnatural deaths in South Africa last year.

No one should be shocked by the findings, but we should be alarmed that of the 33500 "non-natural deaths" it recorded, 12000 were murdered and 10700 succumbed in traffic accidents.

These figures don't even record all deaths - the police, for example, listed 18500 murders last year.

We all know we live in a violent society and many agencies are working hard to transform the social and economic conditions at the root of this problem.

Road accidents slip under the mavens' radar, though, the toll is almost as grisly. Yet we could quickly and easily reduce this mayhem.

First and foremost, we need to reinstitute proper policing of our traffic laws.

Too many municipalities around South Africa use traffic cops to milk the public. Instead of lolling behind bushes, these officers should be patrolling the roads where they can be seen and ruthlessly enforce the law they were employed to uphold.

Drivers and pedestrians should also start exercising simple consideration and common sense. We could then demand the authorities should play their part by providing suitable infrastructure.

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