25 January 2013

South Africa: Basic Education, Transport Partner to Make Roads Safer

Johannesburg — On Friday, Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga and Transport Minister Ben Martins, joined by provincial transport MECs and stakeholders in the transport sector, signed the Decade of Action for Road Safety Pledge.

By signing the pledge, they committed to supporting the road safety awareness campaigns and abide by the rules of the road.

The departments have also partnered to appeal to those involved in scholar transport to commit to the Safer Schools and Safer Roads programme.

"All of us have a shared responsibility to ensure an environment in which all citizens can enjoy their right to safety and security, as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa," Martins said.

He said by targeting children, they would nurture generations of South Africans who can act as road safety ambassadors.

"Children should be empowered to take responsibility for their own safety when walking or playing or when they are passengers. Statistics show that many children die on the road because they do not buckle up."

He noted that assisting young people to obtain valid learners and drivers licences was one area of collaboration between the Departments of Basic Education and Transport, in addition to helping young people become employable.

"Many jobs require one to have a driving licence," Martins said.

He said road fatalities had profound social and economic consequences. The cost of road fatalities amounts to an estimated R306 billion per annum.

As a symbolic gesture, Martins handed over the Torch of Peace to Motshekga on Friday.

The Torch of Peace started as a symbol of the country's campaign to combat violence against women and children and has evolved to represent a rallying point of the creation of a more caring, more humane and safer South Africa.

Martins said that the handing over of the torch from one department to another confirmed that the task to protect the vulnerable in society is a responsibility that cuts across all departments.

Receiving the torch, Motshekga said it was a symbol of hope. She said it reflected government's resolve to instil a strong sense of humanity.

"The department will use the torch of peace campaign to support the road safety programme by implementing awareness programmes on road safety," she said.

The Department of Transport had received the Torch of Peace from the Ministry of Women, Children and People living with Disabilities in November. The torch will be handed over to the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development in March, to mark Human Rights Day.

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