Looking back on National Transport Month and the initiatives launched by the province, leaves nothing to celebrate.
People continue to lose their lives on our roads, children are still forced to walk to schools, Taxi violence is a common occurrence, and traffic law enforcement is basically non-existent.
Anyone who has driven on our provincial roads in October will tell you that not enough is being done to address issues of stray livestock on our roads, which pose significant risk to motorists.
Roadshows have been conducted across the province, and much is said about the education campaigns to promote road safety, but no tangible steps have been taken to enforce adherence to traffic laws.
In her 2018/19 budget speech Transport MEC, Weziwe Tikana, announced that she would be embarking on the rollout of 24-hour traffic law enforcement on the province’s roads, but six months later, and nothing has been done.
In the Department’s 2017/18 Annual Report, tabled in the midst of transport month, the Auditor General found the Department had not taken effective steps to prevent irregular expenditure of R24.5 million.
When we look at fines, penalties and forfeits, the Department revised their target down from R17 million in 2016/17 to just R7 million in 2017/18, but even then, were unable to meet target, with only R5.2 million recovered.
The report also shows that scholar transport remains an issue.
Tikana places the blame on budget shortfalls, yet the total funds allocated grew by R37,7 million year-on-year, from 483,8 million in 2016/17 to 521,5 million for 2017/18.
The Department also racked up 10,655 days of sick leave during the financial year, costing the tax payer an estimated R14,2 million.
This is a clear indication of the low morale of employees in the Department, frustrated by the lack of resources and support.
A DA-led provincial government would ensure that adequate steps are taken to enforce the rule of law on our roads, and that those who have scant regard for the law are held accountable and brought to book.