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Norms & standards urgently needed to curb ‘extra-ordinary’ road death toll

Minister Dipuo Peters yesterday confirmed 237 people were killed in 179 collisions in less than a week.

FILE: Randfontein Road in Randfontein was closed on Friday 29 April 2016 after a horror crash between a taxi and truck. 13 people were killed, one person has been resuscitated and another is in a critical condition. Picture: @_ArriveAlive via Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - While Kagiso prepares to hold a joint memorial for the 15 people killed in a Randfontein taxi crash and survivors of a fatal Limpopo collision recover in hospital, the Transport Department says norms and standards are urgently needed to curb the extra-ordinary death toll on the country's roads.

Transport Minister Dipuo Peters has confirmed that 237 people were killed in 179 collisions between the Freedom and Workers Day public holidays.

Peters says she wants the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) to act with unprecedented speed and begin the process of establishing the Traffic Law Enforcement Review Committee, to deal with the determination of norms and standards for the traffic law enforcement fraternity.

She says nominations for the committee will be made public.

"Invitations for nominations for the establishment of the Traffic Law Enforcement Review Committee will be widely publicised."

She says provincial governments will have to introduce a 24-hour, seven days a week work shift for officers.

"The provincial government and labour formations will pave the way for the introduction of 24/7 work shift, ensuring the availability of officers on the roads at all material times."

KwaZulu-Natal had the most accidents, followed by Gauteng, and then Limpopo.

'SADDEST MOMENT IN THE HISTORY OF SA'

Peters has described the past long weekend as the saddest moment in the history of South Africa, calling the past long weekend an 'extra-ordinary' one.

The weekend began on Freedom Day last Wednesday, and numerous people took two days' leave extending over the weekend right up to the Workers' Day holiday yesterday.

Peters says this increased traffic, combined with payday, saw people take to the roads in numbers.

"We know that payday weekends are generally characterised by high levels of alcohol and this long weekend was not an exception."

She says all of these factors made the weekend one of the saddest South Africa has ever seen.

"This past long weekend was one of the saddest moments in the history of our country."

The minister has also conveyed her condolences to the families of those killed, wishing the injured a speedy recovery.

"I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of government, to send our deepest condolences to the families and friends for the loss of their loved ones, and those who have been injured a speedy recovery."

JOINT MEMORIAL

A joint memorial service will be held in Kagiso for those who lost their lives in Friday's Randfontein crash.

The only two survivors of the crash are being treated for serious injuries.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura will be part of a delegation visiting Kagiso today, to remember the 15 people killed.

The crash is one of five major accidents over the past week being investigated by the RTMC.

Support has been provided to the affected families while the exact cause of the accident is being investigated.

The accident has also prompted engagement between provincial leadership and members of the taxi industry to address road safety.

Arrangements for a joint funeral are expected to be released later this week.

LIMPOPO CRASH SURVIVORS DON'T REMEMBER

Meanwhile, Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu says the survivors of the fatal Limpopo taxi accident that claimed nine lives don't remember the crash or what caused it.

The MEC has visited four of the six surviving Wits students at the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital.

Mahlangu says her department is primarily concerned with their recovery.

"They're trying their best to understand what has happened because they say they can't remember much because it happened so fast and that's a nature of accidents, that's why they're called accidents."