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Ministry of Transport and Communications (MTC)
WORLD DAY OF REMEMBRANCE FOR ROAD TRAFFIC VICTIMS
27/11/14
REMARKS BY THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATIONS, HONOURABLE TSHENOLO MABEO
AT THE WORLD DAY OF REMEMBRANCE FOR ROAD TRAFFIC VICTIMS,16TH NOVEMBER 2014,NATA

Director of ceremonies
Members of Parliament here present
Commissioner of Police
Permanent Secretary – MTC
District Commissioner
Deputy District Commissioners
Director – DRTS
Director -Youth Sports and Culture
Director -  Traffic Police
Town Clerk
Tribal Secretary
His Worship the Mayor
All Honorable Cllrs.
All Tribal Chiefs here present
Senior government officials
Ladies and gentleman
Distinguished guests, 

1.0 I feel honoured and privileged to address you on this somber day, the World Remembrance Day for Road Traffic Victims, a day dedicated to remembering the many millions killed or injured in road crashes across the globe. It is a day where we give support to all the families and communities that have experienced such heart rendering life situations. 

2.0 Before I delve into the business of the day, the first point which is rather obvious to everyone is that this is my very first appointment to Cabinet and the first time I have ever directly steered such a large institution as the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

3.0 However, from the onset, I would like to assure each and everyone of us here present today that I intend to give my all to ensure that I will steer the Ministry to greater heights. I promise that I, with your support - wish to exceed to expectation my delivery of the Ministry’s mandate, to provide efficient, safe and secure transportation and communications to our customers.

4.0 I commit to working with each and everyone of you, our esteemed stakeholders and the public at large to realise the national vision to provide a safe and secure nation by 2016 as well as attainment of the UN Global Plan for Road Safety Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011 – 2020).

5.0 I shall adhere to the tenets of communication, consultation and collaboration to ensure that what I deliver meets the expectation of the public that we serve.

6.0 Having said that, Director of Ceremonies, I am told that the Remembrance Day for Road Traffic Victims provides an opportunity for all us to introspect and ponder as a nation on how we address road safety issues and how we respond to them.

7.0 This year, we commemorate this day under the theme “Speed kills – design our speed”.   You will agree with me Ladies and Gentlemen, that this theme speaks volumes to us all here.  Each and everyone of us has been directly or indirectly affected by death or injury as a result of speeding.

8.0 According to Police report, the number of fatalities (deaths) due to road accidents between January, 2013 and October, 2014 decreased from 333 to 266 for the same period in 2014.

9.0 Although there is a reduction, the figure is still high considering the number of lives lost on our roads relative to our small population. Therefore, there is a need to join hands and come up with strategies that will reduce road carnage. In regard to the number of accidents recorded there was a reduction from 14 191 in 2013 to 11 920 this year October.

10.0  The onus is on all of us to take personal responsibility for our own lives and the lives of other road users. It is for communities to work as collectives to ensure that all obstacles to safe roads such as cattle roaming on our roads are removed.

11.0  My Ministry will always play a facilitatory role. It will provide quality road network for mobility. It will provide proper legislative frameworks to ensure the safety of our roads users. 

12.0   Currently, the Ministry and stakeholders have come up with the National Road Safety Strategy, a blueprint that seeks to provide preventative measures to curb road carnage. The principal objective of this document is to guide and drive road safety programmes in order to stabilize and reduce road fatalities in the country at least by half by the year 2020.

13.0  The implementation of this document has earnestly started and it is for this reason that my primary commitment today is the resuscitation of the District Road Safety Committees across the country. I call upon all these committees to increase their pace and operationalize the document if we are to realise any value from its implementation.

14.0  You will agree with me that it is in places such as Nata that these committees need to hit the ground running. It seems to me that Nata has become some sort of a transport hub of Botswana. Transportation, business, tourism and other economic activities have converged and are operating in Nata. Much as this is a welcome development, it has all come back with some undesirable challenges such as illegal social activities and road accidents.

15.0  To that end, I believe that the road safety committee responsible for Nata should be reenergized to take head-on these negative developments which are likely to reverse the reduction in road accidents as earlier remarked.

16.0  The Road Traffic Act continues to be amended and recently, we have amended it and increased penalties in certain aspects such as failure to wear a seat belt, use of mobile phone while driving. All this is aimed at trying to help road users to change their behaviors and adopt a culture of road safety.

17.0  I would like to applaud the work done by our partners, the Police, Motor Vehicle Fund and District Road Safety Committees and others in their endeavour to keep our roads safe. I am aware that they continue to mount road safety educational campaigns to heighten awareness of these tragedies. I can only urge them to keep the fire burning. We have to, sooner than later arrive at our UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 target to reduce road accidents by 50%.

18.0  Director of Ceremonies; allow me to conclude my brief message by thanking all of you present hear today, and particularly our sponsors for their support of this important celebrations. I also wish to urge all road users to exercise caution when using our roads, especially with the festive season upon us.

Kea leboga.

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