Botswana is not performing well in the road safety sphere as the country continues to record high numbers of fatalities from year to year. The recorded deaths over the last three years are 462 in 2018,457 in 2019 and 325 in 2020.
According to the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVAF) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Michael Tlhagwane, road safety does not only save lives, but it also reduces the resources spent on road accident victims.
These resources could be channeled to other challenges that we face as a country like the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and for economic development. As stakeholders we should work towards the same goal of “Zero road crashes to Preserve lives”.
Mr. Tlhagwane said preventing road traffic crashes is everybody’s responsibility and it involves appropriate behavior on the road, including obeying all road rules. In this era of COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals are congested.
Therefore, if people continue to cause road crashes because of reckless driving, drunken driving, driving cars that are not roadworthy, as well as failing to observe road safety signs, we will end up having more road crash victims who need to be cared for. This results in putting more strain on our health care system that is already overwhelmed by the effects of Covid-19 pandemic.
Road crashes pose a real threat to the economic development as those who sustain injuries and perish on road crashes are the youth who are the future of our beloved country. The social and economic trauma that comes with being involved in a road crash is far reaching, as many are left with permanent injuries leading to disability and children are left as orphans.
Road crashes can be avoided if we all practice safety on the road by planning our trips on time, avowing unnecessary movements, using road worthy vehicles, observing all road signs, and driving sober.
Mr. Tlhagwane noted that as of the 27th of June 2021, 179 people had lost their lives in road crashes, as compared to 119 deaths recorded as at the 27th of June 2020. He said the reduction in the number of road crashes recorded in 2020 was attributable to national lockdowns and movement restrictions between April and May 2020.
Statistics indicates that 95% of road crashes are caused by behavioral factors such as such as driving above the recommended speed limits, recklessness, inappropriate overtaking, distracted driving and driving under the influence of liquor and drugs.
One of the strategies that the Fund use to create awareness on speed is the use of the LED Speed Variable Message, which is a mobile Speedometer mounted on roadsides to monitor traffic speed.
According to Mr. Tlhagwane, as per the statistics recorded from the LED device placed in different speeding zones on 31st May 2021 with the device was placed on a 60km/h zone, 110 076 cars were recorded on the road and from this number, 48 575 were driving above the recommended speed limit. This means 44.1% of the cars were over speeding, and the highest speed recorded was 170km/hour.
The MVA Fund CEO also said they were seeing a lot more pedestrians involved in road crashes because they do not obey road safety practices.
“They do not adhere to basic safety practices like crossing the roads at gazetted spots. They also do not observe incoming traffic before crossing the road,” Mr. Tlhagwane said.
He added that pedestrians also have a habit of crossing roads while texting on their mobile phones or listening to music with earphones on.
“Even when drivers hoot to try and caution them of an impending danger, they do not hear the car horn because of loud music on headsets. We just want to encourage people to cross at gazetted spots and adhere to the basics of road safety,” he advised.
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The Botswana Public Officers Fund (BPOPF) is now mandated by law to have pension fund administration and investment management conducted by independent licensed entities.
This means that these functions must be fully outsourced. This became necessary due to the enacting by Parliament of the Retirement Funds Act in 2014 (RFA Act) and the promulgation of subsidiary legislation governing the RFA Act by the Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority (NBIFIRA).
Therefore, the outsourcing project name coded Gata Le Rona journey comes to completion as the BPOPF hands over fund administration outsourcing services to NMG Administrators Botswana. NMG Administrators Botswana will be collecting contributions on behalf of the BPOPF, maintain all Member records, payment of claims, permit any excess cash to the BPOPF for investment and manage pensioner payroll. The BPOPF remains committed to building brighter futures together.
Following a significant 19-month long transition journey, the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF), officially handed over fund administration services to NMG Administrators Botswana, as the outsourcing project comes to fruition. The project, which began in October 2019, commenced following amendments to the Retirement Funds Act (Section 15 (i).
Effective 2 June 2021, NMG Administrators Botswana will collect contributions on behalf of the BPOPF, maintain all Member records, payment of claims, permit any excess cash to the BPOPF for investment and manage pensioner payroll.
Noted CEO of the BPOPF, Mr. Moemedi Malindah, “This is a large-scale project and one we are proud to say was managed with the utmost diligence, with our Members at heart in all that we did and indeed continue to do. The BPOPF continues to engage all key stakeholders to ensure this transition is a smooth one.
Members can be rest assured that their pensions and benefits are not affected as NMG Administrators Botswana takes over the day-to-day fund administration tasks. This is a bright new chapter and we are more than ready and confident in the future.”
NMG Administrators Botswana is a joint venture between Lecha Administration (a company owned 100% by the BPOPF) and NMG South Africa. Lecha Administration owns 51% shares and NMG South Africa owns 49% shares in NMG Administrators Botswana.
“Re a leboga, Batswana, for your patience and support; especially our valued Members. We remain committed to investing in your golden years and building a brighter future together,” concluded Malindah.