Sunday 20 June 2021
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Ndeitunga blocks road safety project

Police chief Sebastian Ndeitunga has been accused of unceremoniously blocking a nationwide road safety initiative aimed at making the country’s roads safer.
The campaign, coordinated by the National Road Safety Council and MVA Fund, was supposed to kick off earlier this month and run for a whole year.
Ndeitunga has confirmed suspending the project, saying it was suspended temporarily because it was not well planned.
Under the project, a Traffic Law Enforcement Task Force was supposed to be formed that would have seen 108 Traffic Law Enforcement officers from both NamPol and local authorities being dispatched across the country.
The project was called off by Ndeitunga on the account of lack of transport.
Ndeitunga cancelled the project despite the fact that preparations have been underway since October 2017 and funds had already been spent during the planning stages.
Agencies such as MVA Fund, Roads Authority, National Road Safety Council and the Road Fund Administration are said to be spearheading the project.
The Patriot understands the two bodies availed over N$4 million to ensure that police vehicles that would be used during the duration of the project undergo maintenance checks.
Each of the 108 traffic officers selected for the project was also in line for an allowance of N$1100 per day. This is on top of their monthly salaries.
He said he cancelled it because it was not well coordinated; hence he gave the organising committee instructions to go back to the drawing board.
Ndeitunga lamented that the project organisers promised to avail funds to do maintenance works on police vehicles, but that was not done.
“The vehicles were not repaired; how do I sanction such a project? There was clear mal-coordination and therefore I sent them back.
There is no benefit for me to put the project on halt because I also want road safety to be tackled, but I cannot approve something that is not sustainable,” said the police chief.
Nampol allegedly wanted traffic officers to be rotated during the project, however, the project organisers refused to entertain such a proposal, saying “it will disrupt the flow of the project”.
There are also claims that regional commanders refused to avail police vehicles for the project.
The selected group of officers underwent a week-long briefing session at the Patrick Iyambo Training College in Windhoek.
“Is it really fair for Nampol to cancel everything at the last minute after all the planning that went into making this initiative a reality? One wonders if they are really committed to fighting accidents on our roads,” questioned a source who is privy to the project.
Sources close to Eugene Tendekule, the Executive Secretary of the Namibia Road Safety Council, said he is disappointed that Ndeitunga called off the project.
“He has often bemoaned the effects of the fragmented road safety management structure that seem to be paralysing us from taking action while more and more lives continue to be lost on the roads,” said a source close to Tendekule.
The council, and the Ministry of Works and Transport alike are said to be unimpressed with Nampol’s decision to call off the project.
Most of the road deaths in Namibia, which have been described as a serious public health problem in Africa and other low to middle-income regions, have been attributed to poor road infrastructure and weak preventative measures.
However, in Namibia, which has an excellent road infrastructure, the high rate of fatal road accidents is mostly blamed on bad driver attitude.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Namibia is ranked high in the world in terms of the number of road deaths per 100 000 residents. Even though Africa accounts for just two (2) per cent of registered vehicles, the continent is responsible for about 16 per cent of annual global road deaths. Africa makes up 12 per cent of the world’s population.
Roads Authority spends approximately between N$600 million and N$800 million annually on maintenance of Namibia’s road network to ensure the country’s road infrastructure remains one of the best on the continent and is on par with the best in the world.
WHO has warned that without sustained action, road traffic crashes are predicted to become the seventh leading cause of death by 2030.
The newly adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has set an ambitious target of halving the global number of deaths and injuries from road traffic crashes by 2020.

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