WINDHOEK, 29 MAY – Road accidents in Namibia unnecessarily contribute to the cycle of poverty through the deaths of breadwinners, Minister of Works and Transport, John Mutorwa said on Tuesday.
He made the remark at the official opening of a workshop here on road safety management and the Safe System approach, arranged by the National Road Safety Council (NRSC).
Mutorwa said accidents in Namibia are a serious concern, stating that a study commissioned by the NRSC in 2016/17 revealed that accidents cost the Namibian economy about N$1.3 billion every year.
Current figures, according to the minister, indicate that Namibia records about 19 000 accidents per year out of which more than 700 lives are lost, while 7 000 or more people are left with life-changing injuries and deformities.
Mutorwa said these figures in the Namibian context are too high to be ignored as there is a belief that one life lost is one life too many.
“The figures when analysed in relation to the country’s demographics reveal that Namibia stands out way above the African average of 26 fatalities per 100 000 inhabitants,” he said.
Road safety, according to Mutorwa, is a shared responsibility between authorities, manufacturers and road users which make all stakeholders duty-bound to ensure a culture of safety.
Namibia, as having been represented at the United Nations Conference that adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is under obligation to perform in all areas of the SDGs, hence the assimilation of these in the Fifth National Development Plan, Mutorwa said.
In relation to road safety, SDG3 calls for a 50 per cent reduction of fatalities by 2020, while SDG11 calls for the provision of safe, affordable and sustainable transport systems by 2030.
Echoing Mutorwa, Manager of the Global Road Safety Partnership, Dr Judy Fleiter said there is a need for partnerships to make a difference on the roads and monitoring and evaluating whatever is happening on the roads.
The workshop, which ends Thursday, is being attended by members of the Namibian Police Force, City Police, Motor Vehicle Accident Fund and members from town councils and municipalities responsible for transportation.