Gauteng’s Department of Transport will offer advanced driving lessons to taxi drivers in the province.
In an interview with eNCA, Gauteng Transport MEC Jacob Mambolo said that the lessons form part of a new agreement between government, the Gauteng National Taxi Alliance (GNTA), and the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) which is aimed at making the province’s roads safer.
“Statistics show that the taxi industry is not one of the big culprits behind the overall fatalities and injuries (on the province’s roads),” Mambolo said.
“However, perceptions are very strong on the issue that taxis lead to accidents.”
To address these perceptions, Mambolo said that his department has also signed a separate memorandum of understanding with Armscor – the acquisition agency for the Department of Defence, to offer advanced driving lessons to taxi drivers.
“Armscor is going to introduce what is known as an advanced programme,” Mambolo said.
“Most people – myself included – think that we know how to drive because we have a driver’s licence. But in actual fact, advanced driving techniques indicate that driving is actually supposed to be a professional skill, and we actually take a number of things for granted.”
Mambolo said that government and the taxi industry will share the costs of these lessons, with Armscor having sufficient capacity to a large number of drivers.
Cost of an accident
According to the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), road crashes exert a heavy burden on the economy, society and families as they involve economically active members of society, many of whom are breadwinners and heads of families.
A study conducted by the corporation as well as the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has estimated that the cost of crashes to South Africa last year was R166.2 billion.
It is estimated that one death on the road represents an average loss of R4.6 million to the economy in terms of lost productivity, pain and suffering, medical costs, legal and funeral costs.