Polokwane - Recklessness on South African roads is costing the country billions, President Jacob Zuma said at the opening of a new road in Limpopo on Tuesday.
“At least 14 000 people die on our roads every year and 46 percent of these are pedestrians,” he said in a speech prepared for delivery.
He was speaking at the opening of the new R81 road which links Polokwane and Giyani.
“Breadwinners are taken away from their families... Our economy bleeds at least R306 billion every year.”
The situation was abnormal and a radical change of attitude and commitment to reducing the road carnage was needed.
“We have invested R245 million in the construction of the R81, which will make it easier to move people and goods between Polokwane and Giyani,” Zuma said.
The Capricorn and Mopani district municipalities and the Polokwane local municipality would all benefit from the new road.
Zuma said another road, the R71 linking Polokwane and Tzaneen, was under construction. It is used by Zion Christian Church members during their pilgrimages, and leads to the Kruger National Park.
“We want to create this infrastructure that makes life easy everywhere, not just in the big cities,” Zuma said.
South Africa had 750 000km of roads and government spent about R10 billion annually to service and re-tar them, Zuma said.