Pic by: ECN
Motorists using the R346 route past Zwelitsha township to King Williamstown will tell you how dangerous the route is, and how it has become notorious for accidents over time due to bad behavior by some motorists. The two sets of robots in the area are a problem as they have maimed and claimed many lives over the years, motorists who frequently use the road gave their different accounts of what they have witnessed, and also what they think could be done to make the road safer.
Mount Coke resident Bandile Mqhayi drives past the intersections everyday, and attributes the high number of accidents to negligent driving, as he has seen lots of accidents in the area over the years.
“Both intersections that enter Zwelitsha are wide and people think they can skip the robots everytime and that is when the accidents happen. Driver behavior is a problem these days, back then you knew when the robots turned from green to amber you were supposed to slow down because they were signaling that they are going to turn red which means stop. Now everyone just accelerates and wants to skip the robots which is what causes accidents especially at the sets of robots in Zone 1. I think government should install cameras or have traffic officers stationed there especially during rush hours,” he said.
For motorist Mzwandile Fani weekends are the worst as he has noted that most accidents happen during this period at the intersections especially at night, and also blamed government for not putting people’s lives first.
“I have seen many accidents caused by people mostly driving drunk at night or in the early hours of the morning. To show that the municipality is aware that the area is a high accident zone but is turning a blind eye, they have erected concrete barriers for cars not to hit the robots because they are expensive to fix, it shows that they are only concerned about the costs of repairing them. Now the same barriers are being hit by cars causing injuries or deaths, I think if they care about road users they should come up with solutions and measures to ensure that drivers abide by the rules of the road all the time,” he said.
Transport communications manager Khusela Rantyi said that they are not aware that the said area is a high accident zone because when her department gather statistics they look at the broader view provincially. She urged the local community to come forward and report what they observe, and come up with suggestions on how to prevent these accidents from occurring.
“During the time I have assumed office it has never been brought to my attention by local police that the area is an accident hot-spot, for now the data we have is collected from other high accidents zones like the recent reported one in Port Alfred. There the local community took it upon themselves and demanded that the municipality come up with preventative measures to avoid accidents, and so I advise Zwelitsha community to do the same if they feel the area is not safe for driving so that we can come up with solutions together, “ she said.