Botswana records the highest prevalence of road crash fatalities in SADC- Mabeo

1-BonyongoSpeaking at the National Symposium for Road Safety at the Gaborone International Convention Centre(GICC), Minister of Transport and Communications, Tshenolo Mabeo said Botswana signed up to the Decade of Action on Road Safety (2011-2020), to reduce accidents by 50%, based on appalling worldwide statistics on fatalities from road accidents.

"Injuries from road accidents are the leading cause of death worldwide and will become leading cause of death of children worldwide ahead of other diseases and causes. The home-school-home journey is a high risk for children, and must be taken into consideration," said Mabeo.

He said, "Our numbers may be small but so is our population so each life lost of limited by accident impacts multiple other lives. Botswana has second highest prevalence of road crash fatalities in SADC."
He said in 2014 Botswana registered a total number of 6641accidents. He also said vehicle defects, driver fatigue, pedestrian error are decreasing marginally but there are more fatalities due to driving under the influence.

"The Festive season is approaching which is a bad time for accidents and young men are the most widely affected by these accidents. Introspection is required to see why this is," continued Mabeo.
He went on to say gatherings such as this Symposium need to look at measures to take to reduce road accidents and to raise further public awareness about this scourge.

He also took the opportunity to announce that there will be an annual road safety awareness walk, as part of the awareness campaign this Saturday. Mabeo said much of government resources are spent on keeping the population healthy, only for them to lose their lives through totally preventable incidents.
Mabeo said partnering with government is part of the strategy. This symposium is exactly the type of partnership needed to address the problem. These collaborations can and will make a difference and he hopes thatit has inspired everyone to participate in discussions and put forward suggestions.
"Government cannot improve road safety in isolation, but they must guide and coordinate efforts.

Prevention is better than cure. I urge you to join hands and ensure the safety of the community. Ask not what the government, department, etc is doing to improve road safety but what you as an individual are doing. Road safety begins with you and me," concluded Mabeo.

The Debswana Managing Director, Balisi Bonyongo, noted that Debswana always begins each meeting with a S.H.E moment.

"All employees are trained on safety and risk management. We consistently apply safety standards, and non-compliance is always investigated and severe sanctions are implemented if one is in breach. This is in order to save lives," said Bonyongo.

He said leadership must always be in the forefront of safety.

"If leaders don't care why should subordinates, toolbox talks happen daily in Debswana, and this is audited to make sure they happen. If anything goes wrong we learn from it and put measures in place to avoid repetition," he said.

He said he hopes that this symposium finds innovative ways to address road safety problems and that plans will be implemented.

"It is not only to look at government but to ensure collaborations take place between all sectors. For the momentum to be sustained, government's, businesses' and society's leadership will be crucial. We need to take cognisance of this message. Debswana will continue to drive efforts to make our roads safer. Let us demonstrate that the safer roads initiative is central to Botswana's strategy. We must believe that it is doable and attainable," added Bonyogo.

When giving closing remarks on the symposium sponsored by Debswana in partnership with G4 Consulting Engineers, the Department of Road Transport and Safety and the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVA), the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry ofTransport and Communications Neil Fitt said he is thankful to the sponsors, participants and was encouraged by the success of the multi-sector collaboration.


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