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DA in KZN writes to provincial portfolio committee on transport because KZN Transport Department has failed to provide a festive season plan

Twelve people died in a collision involving a fuel tanker and a minibus taxi on KZN’s R33 (old Greytown road) just outside or near Wartburg at a place called KwaChakide. File Picture: Nqobile Mbonambi/African News Agency(ANA)

Twelve people died in a collision involving a fuel tanker and a minibus taxi on KZN’s R33 (old Greytown road) just outside or near Wartburg at a place called KwaChakide. File Picture: Nqobile Mbonambi/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Nov 14, 2021

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DURBAN - The DA in KwaZulu-Natal will be writing to the chairperson of the provincial portfolio committee on transport about the provincial Transport Department not announcing any measures aimed at curbing the high levels of carnage on provincial roads, with 16 days to go until the start of the festive season on December 1.

In a statement DA KZN transport spokesperson Sharon Hoosen said every year in October, the department would table a festive season road safety plan that provided details on how it would work towards reducing the road death toll during the busy holiday season.

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Yet, the department had remained mum on this to date and it appeared the department was clueless as to what to do.

When Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula released the 2020 festive season statistics, he said KZN recorded a decline of 14% in road fatalities, with 289 fatalities compared to 336 in 2019/2020.

Mbalula also said the N3 near Harrismith in KZN accounted for the highest number of crashes and fatalities.

The N3 was the busiest route with an increase in traffic volumes, from 951 833 in the previous period to 987 596. There was a significant decline in traffic volumes on the N4, with 110 676 vehicles recorded as opposed to 208 883 vehicles recorded previously.

Hoosen said while several KZN transport portfolio committee meetings were postponed due to the local government elections, the festive season plan was also not on the agenda.

“The DA is extremely concerned by this lapse by both MEC Peggy Nkonyeni and her department in terms of their mandate,” Hoosen said.

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She said when Nkonyeni was installed in March this year, she promised the portfolio committee members that she would deal with poor delivery by her department. Yet the reality was that nothing has changed - both she and the department remained “in the slow lane”.

Hoosen added that despite various levels of the lockdown regulations, which saw millions restricted to their homes, KZN had no relief in the number of deaths on its roads.

“The DA expects the MEC to act immediately and present a plan to the committee – one with a powerful focus on saving lives and encouraging more responsible drivers. What we do not need is a complete lack of interest and competence by the DoT during the busiest peak season of the year,” Hoosen said.

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She said the DA would write to the chairperson of the provincial transport portfolio committee to address the “major blunder” by the department and to insist that a proper plan is presented without delay.

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