Transport Minister Dipuo Peters has expressed dismay following the arrest of an Orlando Pirates player over the weekend. The minister opined that it is not okay to be a soccer star and not know traffic rules.
“They should not speak about safety on the field because the safety of their resource, which is soccer players, is also in the road,” Peters said.
Over the weekend, a PSL player whose name was not disclosed, was arrested after he was allegedly caught driving at 173km/h in Johannesburg.
The player was arrested on Friday. The Road Traffic Management Corporation spokesperson Simon Zwane also confirmed the arrest but declined to disclose further details of the incident, including the player’s name.
Speaking further, Transport minister Peters said she blamed the Premier Soccer League (PSL) leadership for failing to teach soccer stars about road safety.
The minister who spoke to a News24 Correspondent on Saturday evening during an Easter weekend operation on the R71 in Tzaneen, Limpopo said,
“I believe that people who are celebrities, people who are stars in areas of sports, must be also be stars in terms of road safety.”
“I want to put the blame squarely on the PSL leadership because we believe they have the responsibility to educate the players, to educate soccer stars about road safety,” she asserted.
She opined that people who go against road rules must stay behind bars and know what it means to be in cell.
“Those arrested for drunken driving and those who are driving speeding… should not get bail. They must stay in the cells and feel how it feels to be in cell because the more we speak, people do not listen,” she said.
Peters postulated that with time, speedsters may soon not even get bail considering the rate of bloodbath speeding leaves behind.
“We need to continue the public education, but we cannot educate forever. We must beat and hit them where it hurts most and it is in the pocket of getting people who get arrested,” the transport minister said.
She also expressed delight that the unidentified soccer star would remain behind bars until he appears in court.
Meanwhile, the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) said on Monday, that many soccer stars and soccer personalities have been lost to road accidents. The organization called for a change in attitude.
“They have to understand that we are saying there is no goal scored on the road. They need to obey the rules of the road… We are not going to play around with them. That is why am happy that soccer star is still behind bars.”
In South Africa, taxis are one of the biggest causes of road deaths. Fatal road traffic accidents increased by 11% between 1 December 2015 to 11 January 2016 – to 1,387, with minibuses accounting for 10.1% of all accidents.
However, researchers from Stellenbosch University have shown that a simple tool can be used to enhance the speeding habits of minibus taxis in the country.