Massacre on the road: N1Botlokwa Road Carnage

January 08, 2018 6:00 AM News

The year began horribly for many families in and around our kasie due to the horrendous motor vehicle accidents that took place on the N1. Families lost bread winners, mothers lost sons and daughters and the village lost community builders. The road regularly feeds on the blood of our brothers and sisters like a mythical monster that needs to be fed regularly. Do we need prayers and cleansing ceremonies to appease this elongated serpent that is always on a feeding spree from Cape to Cairo? Or is the monster actually living in us? The question on everyone's lips is "where did we go wrong, what needs to be done?" It is obviously the responsibility of all stakeholders to make sure that road safety is our priority. We thought that the building of the new bridges and improvements on the road would lead to fewer fatalities but we were proven wrong. Could it be impatience, fatigue, alcohol or lack of driving skills or just plain arrogance and disrespect for human life?

The year began with a horrible accident on the Polatla/ Ramatjowe junction on New Year's Day. The accident which involved a luxury German sedan and a Volkswagen Polo claimed the lives of two young people from our kasie. I knew both of them personally and felt so much pain when I heard about it. Just yesterday another horrible accident happened near Motumo which also claimed the lives of our beloved people. Review Online reported that six people were killed and one critically injured. It is alleged that a luxury German sedan driving at an extremely high speed collided with oncoming Polo; all six were certified dead at the scene. There are many people who die every day on our roads that we do not know of or hear of. It only hits you when it is people that you know and when you are personally affected.

This article will not end road accidents, there have been many accidents reported in many publications over the years but nothing has changed. We can however give few tips on how to reduce road fatalities.

  • Each province to have a department dedicated to bringing their death toll down, and must be heavily incentivised.
  • National roads must be split into two separate roads - going one way and one going the other. This will eliminate head on collisions.
  • Heavy vehicles must stay in the left lane and must adhere to regulated speed limit.
  • Everyone must wear seat belts at all times.
  • Passengers may not be transported on the back of bakkies or trucks.
  • Babies and young children must be in age-appropriate; safety tested and graded car seats.
  • No drinking and driving.
  • Regular rests to avoid fatigue.
  • No talking on the phone or texting and driving.
  • And can something be done about the roads that cross over the N1, with the Polatla/Ramatjowe and Sekonye ones in particular, traffic cycles maybe?

Like we said before, road safety is our collective responsibility. With many people going back to work and school, our roads are already flooded and drivers and pedestrians need to be extra careful and alert. Please drive safely and let us all arrive alive.