Call for urgent action
Mariselle Stofberg and Rivaldo Kavanga
The Automobile Association of Namibia, in conjunction with the City of Windhoek, MVA Fund and partners, held the #ISeeYou campaign under the Western Bypass fly-over on Thursday morning.
Learners from A.I Steenkamp Primary School made their way to the event as pedestrians, wearing reflective sashes to send the #ISeeYou message. The campaign also included handing out reflective sashes to other pedestrians crossing the highway from Shandubala to the northern industrial area.
Speaking on behalf of the National Road Safety Council (NRSC), the director of the council, Ambrosius Tierspoor, said almost 60% of learners under the age of 15 are at risk of dying in a car crash whenever making use of the road.
He urged learners to wear reflective sashes whenever they use the road as pedestrians.
“Almost 77% of road fatalities in 2020 were pedestrians, with 80% being male, showing our boy child is at the greatest risk. We need to create awareness to protect our children and educate them on how to use roads safely, but also educate motorists,” he said.
“The Western Bypass cannot continue to take lives every day. Someone needs to be held accountable for the lives lost on this road. We have drivers who have maimed our children and destroyed their lives who are still driving.
“We need confrontational approaches to the lives lost on our roads, and stop with sensational responses to these horrific acts. We need action,” said Sidney Boois of the MVA.
Boois added that 80% of road fatalities are due to human error, which means it can be prevented by putting the right measures in place.
“We should never underestimate the role the youth play within road safety. We need to put young people at the centre of road safety. This should also be in legislation and policymaking procedures and the voice of our young people needs to be part of those conversations. Through this we ensure the language of the youth is spoken, and we speak to them in a way they will understand,” said youth influencer Klaivert Mwandingi.
“Awareness, activation, advocacy and implementation for road safety should be led by young people. Our youth is at greatest risk, and if the youth is part of the problem, the youth should be the part of the solution as well,” Mwandingi added.