Zimbabwe and South Africa successfully held a two-day joint awareness campaign in Musina at the weekend to educate motorists on road traffic regulations and ways to reduce road carnage during the festive season. The campaign, which is the first of its kind, comprised the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe, the Vehicle Inspectorate Department, Road Agency Fund (South Africa), Nyaradzo Group and Cross Border Association (South Africa).
The campaign comes as major highways in the two countries have become death traps for travellers with 40 Zimbabweans having been killed in road accidents between Johannesburg and Musina town between January and June this year.
The N1 Highway is one of the busiest roads that links South Africa with the rest of Africa and is the route, which handles significant volumes of commercial cargo within the region.
Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe operations, research and marketing director, Mr Proctor Utete, said the campaign was a coordinated approach aimed at reducing the road accidents especially during the festive season.
Mr Utete said the route had witnessed many accidents caused by stray animals.
“We have joined South Africa because we have come to believe in synergies between the different sadc countries that are surrounding us because in terms of the transport system, the road system and the people that actually drive those vehicles are the same, he said.
“Our aim is to make sure that the road users or drivers are informed. We believe that it is going to change their knowledge base, attitude and ways of doing things in using the roads. We will persuade them by the word of mouth and distribute pamphlets.”
Mr Utete said another campaign would be held beginning next month to impart the same knowledge to motorists who would be driving back to their work stations in South Africa.
The teams distributed over 60 000 pamphlets to motorists transiting between both countries including children car sitters to travellers passing through the Musina Weighbridge.
The campaign team warned motorists against speeding when driving, distracted driving such as the use of cellphones and buckling up which is the proper use of seatbelts to avoid unnecessary loss of lives. South Africa Road Accident Fund (RAF) senior manager Mr Siphamandla Gumbi, said South Africa had conducted other joint operations with Botswana, Swaziland and Namibia.
He said they have shown a great impact in a short period.
“We want to target countries that we share borders with as there is a lot of traffic between the sadc countries. There is a sadc forum, which RAF is facilitating so that other countries establishes RAF through acts of parliament,” he said.
Mr Gumbi said RAF offered services such as medical assistance, burial, rehabilitation processes and amenities such as modifying cars and houses and the rehabilitation processes whenever there were accidents.