Incident might again reveal probable absence of moral fabric


Anonymous from Louis Trichardt, writes:

As an unfortunate witness to the above event, I believe the potential horrific outcomes associated with the “Lucky escape for speedster” newspaper article in time might reveal again the probable absence of moral fabric among some entities associated also with this incident.

A mindset among drivers responsible for especially traffic-related carnage to face and to admit to remedying wrongdoing seems a very rare phenomenon in South Africa.

Acknowledgement even in the presence of devastating evidence often seems to be avoided in every and any way possible. Embarrassment, the acknowledgement and acceptance of guilt associated with wrongdoing seems a common personality trait among thousands of drivers with whom we share our roads. Whether it will be the case in respect of this incident remains to be seen.

As this case unfolds, time will tell how various people involved such as the suspect, “potential associates”, members of the police, insurance industry, legal profession, municipal authorities, town watch, Zoutpansberger etc.  have pursued an honest, morally sound and fair outcome for those who suffered severe trauma and loss as a result of this unfortunate yet potentially deadly incident that was none of their wrongdoing.

A particularly interesting feature involves members of the legal profession where it often seems advice is based on whether their services associated with a given civil claim in respect of shortfalls by an insurance claim involving thousands of rand will warrant the amount of their efforts, “expenses” and, ultimately, profits.

Apparently, this is based on the legal perspective that there is no guarantee that a civil claim by a completely innocent party may be discouraged by the possibility of legal costs being awarded in favour of the guilty party. This suggests an absolute mockery of our judicial system.  

After many years of sharing the roads in Louis Trichardt/Makhado and surrounding areas, I have little doubt that our sharing of the roads in and around Louis Trichardt daily exposes many drivers who, although in possession of a “valid driver’s licence”, are completely unfit to possess such a licence. The question remains if this phenomenon is a matter of capability, ignorance or arrogance or a multiple of these reasons simultaneously. When one continually witnesses the driving skills of “licenced” drivers in powerful or heavy-duty vehicles with driving skills that could  rather be associated with the skills required to “drive” a mode of transport that requires to be drawn by an animal, one has reason to fear that any trip at any time could end in carnage and loss of life.    

The reasons for this probably varies from complete ignorance, consideration of driving intoxicated as perfectly acceptable or the absence of basic driving skills especially those with a mentality that often leads to the ignorance of the effect of alcohol, stop signs, allowed speeds, passing on solid lines leads to weekly reporting of people who perished as a result.

When going to my places of work in Elim, Thohoyandou etc. I rarely do NOT pass a traffic official sitting on a bumper of his or her car trying to catch somebody exceeding 60 km/h. I am sure that the number of fines issued must be impressive.

On the same road to Elim, however, I regularly see buses, trucks, taxis, and vehicles passing on bends or uphill across a solid line. This presents little more than a self-made death trap.

Such driving is begging for coffins, funerals, heartache and by now the well-known and common speech by a politician seeking victory in a next election. I have yet to see any of the “bumper-sitting” traffic officials making any effort to bring these “passing-on-a-solid-line angels of death” to book. I suspect that an analysis of their arrests, fines etc. might prove a point in case.

Issuing traffic fines and inspecting vehicles for being roadworthy are important duties but by no means deserve the allocation of all our traffic resources as the death toll time and again confirms. Not a day goes by when one does not fear for the safe return from our roads of your loved ones. An incident such as this one adds to such fears the justified yet mindboggling possibility that one is not safe from irresponsible, traffic-related injury even when sleeping.

Particularly appreciated in this instance is the rapid support of the town watch, police, emergency services, the Zoutpansberger etc.  Especially the Zoutpansberger plays an important role to promote morally justifiable outcomes and remind residents and the municipality of what could and should be done to protect vulnerable citizens from such preventable, potentially deadly incidents. Whether the handling of this particular case by the police will suffice to justify a proper judicial outcome remains to be seen.

By now, many of us we have witnessed the quick excitement among politicians, municipal officials prompted by many honourable intentions to confront multiple safety challenges on behalf of its citizens, once elected. However, we regularly witness how this phenomenon is counter-balanced by poor duration and its eventual consequences.