IN a remarkable and welcome turnaround, no fatal vehicle accidents were recorded in the King Cetshwayo District (KCD) over the peak festive period.
While a number of minor accidents were recorded within the district between Christmas and New Year’s Day, none were fatal, with those involved needing moderate to minor attention.
Good driver behaviour and proper planning leading into the busy holiday period, during which the area and especially the City of uMhlathuze attracted large tourist numbers, were major contributors to the zero road deaths.
The last known road fatalities were on the afternoon of 18 December when three people, including a one-year-old toddler, lost their lives, after a truck carrying pig carcasses lost control and crashed into a taxi near Ndundulu, between eShowe and Melmoth.
The statistic was welcomed by Sibusiso Nzuza, regional chairperson of the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO), who promised prior to the holidays that inspections would be ruthlessly conducted to ensure taxis are safe and roadworthy, and that drivers are not drinking and driving.
Speaking to the ZO Nzuza said he and SANTACO are impressed and grateful that no fatal accidents were recorded.
‘We are happy to be going into 2018 boasting an accident-free zone between the Christmas and New Year period.
‘I must say that the Hlokomela Committee, led by Vusi Mthiyane, did tremendous work throughout 2017, doing spot checks at various taxi association ranks in the region.
‘Their marvellous work combined with the Driver Training Programme, through which we trained more than 200 drivers in 2017, as well as the Driver Awards – whereby commuters vote for the best driver who served them as a community – have yielded positive results for us,’ he told the ZO.
Nzuza noted concerns of members of the public regarding the congestion in Richards Bay on New Year’s Day and said they are in the process of putting forward a proposal to the City of uMhlathuze.
‘While Richards Bay, especially the beaches, were heavily congested on New Year’s Day, we still did not have any major accidents.
‘Nevertheless, we are planning on putting forward a proposal to the City to ease traffic flow in congested areas over the busy period.
‘We are hoping to start some sort of shuttle service, whereby members of the public would park their vehicles at shopping centres and malls and be transported to the beach via shuttles.’
Nzuza further said that this year commuters and members of the public should know their rights and must not be afraid to report reckless driving or unroadworthy vehicles.
‘All taxis should have stickers on them which clearly indicate to which taxi association they belong.
‘Those stickers have contact numbers on them which people can and must phone if they want to report irregular driving or run-down vehicles.
‘If you cannot get the number from the sticker, take down the number plate registration and even try to remember or determine the route the taxi is taking – all these things can be used to easily trace what taxi it was and who was driving,’ he said.
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