Who is to blame?

Jacques Baartman, Rocklands

I want to convey my sincerest and deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of all those children who were involved in the fatal accident that tragically cut short their tender years, leaving behind close friends and teachers who now have to come to terms with this sad reality (“Five pupils killed in crash”, Plainsman, May 31).

This is the second such accident in recent times and such carnage in our townships across the Cape Flats has become synonymous with originally designed family transport vehicles being transformed into death coffins on our roads.

It is already bad enough that we have to contend with speed freaks using our open public roads for drag racing with scant regard for the law and human life.

I live directly opposite Rocklands Primary School and can speak from a first hand account, without generalising, how many of these scholar transport vehicles are not roadworthy and should never have been allowed on the road.

I can also account for how many of these vehicles are ridiculously overloaded with children sitting wherever they can find a little space, like sardines in a tin, generally way exceeding the permitted legal limit.

So who is to blame?

From media reports it’s clear our provincial authorities have been acutely aware of this problem for a very long time but did not act adequately to avoid this from happening

The City of Cape Town traffic and law enforcement agencies have a fiduciary duty and responsibility to police our roads and apply the law.

However, how many instances do we witness them turning a blind eye and looking the other way when these unroadworthy and overloaded vehicles drive pass them in full sight.

Evidently, most of these scholar transport vehicle drivers are clearly motivated by greed, speeding and swerving on the road without applying the safety first rules.

What reasonably sane person would overload his vehicle with so many children without thinking about the consequences of what can possibly happen, but no they don’t because they know they can get away with it.

During peak hour in the mornings all our major arterial roads in Mitchell’s Plain are full of traffic and law enforcement officers and we see these scholar transport vehicles but they are the only one’s not seeing it.

They must do their work by patrolling in our communities at schools to take these vehicles off the road.

I also, humbly and respectfully, request our sub-council, as the voice of our people, to play their part to help stop this senseless carnage.

Now is not a time for political grandstanding or public relations but it is clear that the leafy suburbs are adequately, if not over resourced with traffic transport and law enforcement, while our townships are largely under resourced and this accident may expedite the urgency in dealing with this matter.

After the fact, no amount of words are going to heal the open wounds of the bereaved families but let’s find solace and comfort in knowing that we have tried to stop this from ever happening again.

God bless the families and in this moment of bereavement. Your loss is our loss and as a community we mourn the death of your loved ones in solidarity.

Lastly, parents you cannot simply say I was not aware or did not know and make it your duty that the lives of your children are in safe hands as nobody deserves to go through this trauma.