Road safety campaign launched

By Michael Uugwanga

THE Minister of Works and Transport John Mutorwa has called upon members of the public, agencies as well as board members of public enterprises to be vigilant in their various approaches to stabilise and reduce road carnage by supporting the efforts of the National Road Safety Council.

This was said in a speech read on his behalf by deputy transport minister Veikko Nekundi at the launch of the 2020/2021 Festive Season Road Safety Campaign at the Swakopmund roadblock last Friday.

The campaign -that started 10 years ago- will end on January 15 whereafter a new 10-year campaign is expected to be signed.

The Motor Vehicle Accident Fund of Namibia (MVA) and the Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL) are the biggest funders towards the National Road Safety Campaign that is aimed at reducing road accidents countrywide.

“The mandate that is on the shoulders of the National Road Safety Council and equally the support needed from the sub-sectoral stakeholders is not one easy task but one that needs careful planning and passionate implementation of an integrated road safety management strategy. Over the years, efforts of our stakeholders and the community at large have been tested and driven to the limits. Sub-sectoral interventions and initiatives are commendable but we have to dig deeper into all our resources to make our roads safer.

“We must seek quick solutions, sustainable interventions, form smart partnerships with our private sector and sustainable community initiatives within each region in Namibia. Recently, we have validated the second Namibian chapter of the decade of action for Road Safety Strategy, seeking to implement sustainable interventions over the next 10 years.”

Chairperson of the National Road Safety Council, Eliphas !Owos-Oab  said the council will continue to work with other stakeholders in ensuring that national roads are safe  to drive on.

“We acknowledge the work done by the private sector road safety forum and many others such contributions by the transport associations, ministries, offices and public enterprises in support of road safety in the country. As council we will ensure that our stakeholders are engaged in the formulation of policies, planning and implementation of national strategies as well as the implementation of road safety campaigns and related initiatives.”

Also speaking at the occasion, MVA board chairperson Dr Shitaleni Herman said despite efforts made by the key stakeholders in reducing road accidents, a lot is still to be achieved.

In 2019, there was a reduction of 2.6 percent in crashes, while injuries and fatalities increased by 0.2 percent and 6.3 percent respectively compared to the same period in 2018.

“The MVA Fund has over the years invested in projects and activities that promote road user safety and in particular to pillar five of the Namibian chapter of the decade of action for road safety 2011-2020. I also see in this long-term partners and sponsors who have also brought their part in the five pillars of the same strategy.

“Year-to-date statistics for 2020 thus far indicate downward trends of 64 percent in crashes, 66 percent in injuries and 54 percent in fatalities comparing to 2019. Even with these notable reductions, we should not become complacent as one life lost is one too many. I therefore call on all of you to pull together in the fight against this growing phenomenon on our roads, more so during this time of merriment,” said Herman.