By Dean Phara
In a bid to find a way to reduce the high road carnage, The Free State Department of Police, Roads and Transport this week organised a prayer session at Tumisang Primary School in Senekal, which saw church members from different denominations seeking divine intervention for road safety.
Many people lost their lives on the roads during the last festive season in the Free State with the province recording a 53% fatal accidents rate. Many of these accidents were caused by overloading, speeding, drinking and driving, unroadworthy vehicles as well as fatigue.
Several pastors took to the stage to address the crowd on different aspects of road safety such as fatigue, wearing seat belts, driver and vehicles fitness, drinking and driving, speeding, overloading as well as pedestrian safety.
The MEC, Sam Mashinini, believes that this kind of initiative is very helpful in making roads safer and believes this something other provinces should get involved in.
“These kinds of initiatives can’t be taken for granted because they bring our people together. If the message of road safety is spread in churches then we have a better chance of succeeding in reducing road carnage. Everyone must be talking the same message and that way it will sink into our people. It’s something that we can deliberate with MECs from other provinces to see if we can get together and hold such meetings,” Mashinini said.
He added that the problem of driving under the influence of alcohol is one that can only be won if all stakeholders come together to fight the practice.
“We cannot expect the traffic cops alone to be able to stop this practice because it’s not possible. Everyone should be involved from the family, friends and passengers. You need to be able to stop someone from driving if they are not in the right frame of mind. Similarly, fatigue is real and it contributes towards many accidents. Let’s get into the habit of planning our journeys so that we don’t have to rush to catch up,” said Mashinini.
The MEC also took time to address the issue of drug abuse in the community of Senekal and reminded residents that it is not the fight of the police alone but the parents should also be involved by talking to their children and making them aware of the dangers of drug abuse.
Mashinini warned traffic officers taking bribes that they risk facing the full wrath of the law as there is zero tolerance for corruption.