By Mhlonishwa Hlophe
The Sincephetelo Motor Vehicle Accidents Fund (SMVAF) continues to play a major role in the reduction of road traffic accidents.
This is evident after the organisation sponsored the High Level Road Safety meeting hosted by the Road Safety Council which was held at the Royal Swazi Sun Convention Centre on Monday. In addition to the sponsorship, the Fund further made a presentation on the role of Ekuphileni MVA Clinic, which is instrumental in the rehabilitation of road accident survivors.
Numerous road safety stakeholders from within the country and beyond the Kingdom’s borders convened at the summit which was aimed at addressing the challenge of coming up with effective interventions on ensuring that the looming road safety crisis is alleviated on the country’s roads.
Minister of Public Works and Transport Chief Ndlaluhlaza Ndwanwe, speaking through PS Khangeziwe Mabuza, officially opened the high end meeting informing the meet that more than 1.3 million people die worldwide due to road traffic crashes, with road traffic deaths now being the first cause of death for children and young adults aged 5 – 29 years old.
The Minister said that this was a gloomy situation considering that the most affected age group was the future of the country and is was unacceptable as most of these road traffic crashes were avoidable.
He said that it was time that stringent checks and inspections were conducted even on private vehicles, to improve the safety of all vehicles on our roads.
“A determination must be made on what interval is best to subject private vehicles to mandatory road worthy tests. This can make the life and job of law enforcers a little bit easier. The future outlook of organisation around road safety does give me comfort that we are moving on the right track.
As you know, Cabinet has in the past few weeks approved to continue with the processes of ratifying the African Road Safety Charter. This Charter was adopted by the session of Heads of States of African countries (including the Kingdom of Eswatini) during the 26th Ordinary Session of the African Union Commission Assembly, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in January 2016,” he highlighted.
The Minister also gave an introduction of the African Road Safety Charter, expressing that it seeks to set up a policy framework for road safety improvement in each country and Africa as a whole.
“The major goal of this Charter is to drastically reduce road traffic crashes. The Charter also calls upon the participation of Private Sector, Civil Society Organisations, and Non-Governmental Organisations on road safety. On this note, I am pleased to realise that this meeting has been supported by diverse entities such as the SMVAF and others and this is in line with the call by the African Road Safety Charter,” he added.
The Minister thanked the MVA Fund, as well as other sponsors, being Lidwala Insurance and Eswatini Mobile.
The meeting included presentations from international organisations such as the World Health Organisation, the Western Cape Government traffic department, the Road Traffic Management Corporation and South African Brewers of the ABInBEV family as well as local stakeholders such as Eswatini Beverages, Royal Eswatini Police and Eswatini Railway amongst others.