‘Speed or drink and drive – you will die’‚ Gauteng MEC warns

Drunken driving:
Drunken driving:
Image: 123RF/ olegdudko

"You speed‚ you will die. You drink and drive‚ you will die."

That is Gauteng MEC for Community Safety Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane’s message to road users in the province.

This comes as road fatalities in Gauteng have already reached alarmingly high levels this festive season with 59 pedestrians already dead.

Nkosi-Malobane said road fatalities had risen drastically‚ with some of the main causes being drinking and driving and speeding involving people between the ages of 18 and 35.

"We are worried because the numbers are not decreasing‚ they are actually increasing. As we speak to you now‚ we've exceeded last year's numbers of fatalities and that is why we are pleading with our people on the ground to actually start behaving‚" said Nkosi-Malobane.

Of the 59 pedestrians that have been killed on the roads since the beginning of the festive season‚ particularly in urban areas‚ 10 percent are children under the age of five.

Nkosi-Malobane did not however‚ specify the total number of people that have died across the province as the list must still be consolidated. She pleaded with pedestrians not to drink and jaywalk‚ saying pedestrians account for at least 40 percent of the fatalities on South African roads annually.

"We still have more than twenty days of festive season so imagine if we leave the situation between now and January as is and don't talk to our people‚ it will mean the numbers are going to be tripled. My fear is that we might reach a very high number and‚ at the moment‚ we are at a number that we never expected that we will be‚" she said.

"Most of the road fatalities that have happened in the province is because of driver behaviour and pedestrian behaviour. As we speak‚ the contributing factor is speed‚ drinking and driving and‚ to a certain extent‚ texting and driving. Our people don’t have respect for rules of the road and we are worried that the majority of the people who are involved in road fatalities or involved in road accidents are young people‚" added Malobane‚

She revealed that two 18-year-old girls were caught on Tuesday for exceeding average speeds - one was driving at 127km/h in an 80km/h zone while the other was caught driving at 138km/h in an 80km/h zone.

Malobane said although taxi drivers are known to be bad drivers on the roads‚ they are the ones who have been driving carefully this festive season compared to other motorists and truck drivers.

"We are also focusing on ladies now because some of the them drink and drive and they know that in most cases when we stop cars‚ we always stop cars that are driven by young men that drink and drive… these young girls drink and they don't care‚" added Malobane.

Drivers living in urban areas are the most problematic because they drive recklessly‚ don't wear seatbelts and do not taking precautions while driving in the rain or in the dark‚ the MEC said.

She urged motorists to make use of services such as Uber or other taxi services to transport them home if they are under the influence of alcohol instead of putting their lives at risk by driving drunk.

The MEC also called on parents to check on their children constantly to avoid accidents when they are playing in the neighbourhood.

Major accidents occurred in Ennerdale‚ M2 Cleveland and 14th Avenue.

JMPD chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar revealed on Tuesday that 521 motorists were arrested for alleged drunken driving at roadblocks across the city of Johannebsurg over the Christmas period.

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