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COSATU Today  |  COSATU Press Statements

COSATU demands end to road carnage

12 December 2011

The Congress of South African Trade Unions is appalled at the tragic accident near Harrismith in the Free State, which claimed the lives of 30 people, including ten children over the weekend. We send our condolences to the families and friends of the deceased and best wishes to the injured.

This tragedy points yet again to the urgent need to enforce the laws of the road and cut the carnage on our highways. According to Ashref Ismail of the Road Traffic Management Corporation, the 23-seater taxi involved in this accident was carrying 34 people the North West to Tsolo in the Eastern Cap,. He said: "It appears the taxi was either travelling at a high speed and lost control or that there was driver fatigue."

This raises the question as to why no taxi marshalls or traffic police stopped this vehicle which was so obviously overloaded.

It is the poor, black South Africans who are usually the victims of such accidents, as they have no alternative but to travel in death-trap minibus taxis. Drivers are under pressure to overload their taxis and they frequently drive long journeys without taking the necessary rest breaks.

They then drive on roads where speeding and drunk driving are widespread and many traffic police can be bribed to ignore such offences. It is one of the most lethal forms of the corruption which infests all corners of our society

COSATU calls upon all drivers to obey the laws of the road, keep to the speed limits and never drink and drive.

The federation also repeats its strong demand for affordable, reliable and safe public transport, so that no-one has to endure the ordeal of travelling in dangerous minibus taxis.

Patrick Craven (National Spokesperson)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
1-5 Leyds Cnr Biccard Streets

P.O.Box 1019
South Africa

Tel: +27 11 339-4911/24
Fax: +27 11 339-5080 / 6940
Mobile: +27 82 821 7456
E-Mail: patrick@cosatu.org.za