Traffic Offenders Beware!

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By Surihe Gaomas SWAKOPMUND In what could be described as the biggest road safety campaign ever, close to 40 Namibian companies have joined hands in support of the Xupifa Eemwenyo Project 2006 that will run during the festive season. Inconsiderate drivers who don’t adhere to the speed limit and disobey traffic rules will face the law. This stern warning comes from the Minister of Safety and Security, Peter Tsheehama, who launched the Xupifa Eemwenyo Project near Swakopmund on Friday. “Xupifa Eemwenyo” in Oshiwambo literally means ‘Save Lives’. Through the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVA) 35 public and private sector companies willingly gave their support in a bid to foster an accident-free festive season this year. “Thus the overall objective of the project is to save lives during the festive season and beyond. “We all would like to be alive! We do not want to be victims of accidents, so let us work together to save lives – Xupifa Eemwenyo,” stressed Tsheehama when he addressed sponsoring companies at the event. Many innocent lives are lost in gruesome road accidents due to reckless driving, overloading, speed, poor driving skills and unroadworthy vehicles that carry passengers to their various destinations during the festive season. However, sentiments were expressed at the launch that this problem needs to be addressed effectively to reduce the high number of accidents on the country’s national roads. “For commuters and other road users out there, be warned that we will not tolerate such behaviour and disobedience of traffic laws … My office will issue an operational order that will take effect on December 01, 2006. Through this order, we will ensure that Namibian motorists adhere to the road safety tips, and strict law enforcement will be applied on our roads,” he warned. All sponsoring partners in the project were encouraged to make this initiative a resounding success. Speaking at the same occasion, Director General of the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) Bob Vezera Kandetu said saving lives is a collective responsibility. We need to be vigilant, we should not repeat the same thing year in and year out. Let’s all commit ourselves in saving lives,” said Kandetu. The NBC gave the highest contribution of N$300 000 towards the production and publication of road safety education materials. Echoing the same sentiments, Deputy Minister of Works, Transport and Communication Stefanus Mogotsi said there is a need to promote more responsible driving on the country’s roads to curb the unnecessary loss of lives. “I am therefore pleased that the focus of the Xupifa Eemwenyo 2006 initiative would enable us to instil a new awareness that every life is precious, that overloading, speed, drink and drive do not pay at all and indeed that there is a renewed urgency to redefine the traditional purpose of roadblocks,” explained Mogotsi. Amongst others, the sponsors who gave donations at the event on Friday were the Swakopmund Municipality with a highway patrol vehicle; the National Road Safety Council and RÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¶ssing Namibia who both donated breathalyzers; Methealth Namibia gave 50 first aid kits; the Road Fund Administration four generators and Old Mutual gave jaws of life equipment. The Xupifa Eemweenyo project was first piloted by the MVA during the festive season last year in the Otjozondjupa, Oshana, Ohangwena and Omusati regions to reduce road traffic accidents. With the mobilization for sponsorship of resources by both the private and public organisations, the last project saw the donation of five roadblock sets, three laser speed measuring equipment and three breathalyzers. A significant reduction in the number of accidents could be seen in these regions. For instance in Oshikoto, the number of road accidents dropped from over 50 accidents during the previous festive season of 2004 to only over 20 accidents last year during the same period.