Opotuli takes centre stage ahead of Trade Fair
With hordes of travellers expected to travel to the north for the Ongwediva Trade Fair and Olufuko Cultural festivals, the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVA) will this week launch its Opotuli campaign, hoping to stop drunk drivers dead in their tracks.
“August marks an exciting time for Namibians as family and friends get together in celebration of the many festivities lined up during this month. Of prominence is the Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair and the Olufuko Cultural Festival which are taking place in the north as well as the commemoration of Heroes Day on 26 August, which will be celebrated at Walvis Bay. These festivities also fall in the school holidays adding to the high number of road travellers,” the MVA said.
As a result, the coming weekend will see an influx of travellers mainly towards North, West and other parts of Namibia, culminating in high traffic flow and increasing the risk of road crashes during this period. The consequence of such celebrations and gatherings are likely to result in more drivers driving under the influence of alcohol too.
MVA Fund statistics recorded during Heroes Weekend of 25 August to 31 August 2015 indicate that 12 lives were lost in 94 crashes with resultant injuries of 193 persons.
The rising spate of road crashes across the country coupled with mass casualty crashes which predominantly took place during June 2016, steered the Minister of Transport and Works, Hon. Alpheus !Naruseb to call upon all road safety partners to come up with sustainable initiatives to redress the escalating number of road crashes on Namibian roads the MVA motivated.
The MVA Fund in conjunction with law enforcement agencies including NamPol, Roads Authority, Local Authority Traffic units and other partners such as National Road Safety Council (NRSC) launched the ‘Opotuli’ road safety campaign on 24 June 2016. The campaign, which is partly sponsored by the Self-Regulatory Alcohol Industry Forum (SAIF) and Private Sector Safety Forum (PSRSF), is currently in full swing and is expected to run until the end of January 2017 and will be stretched to all 14 regions across the country.
With the focus of doing random breath testing for alcohol consumption and vehicle fitness, the main aim of Opotuli is to encourage road users to change their mindset while using the roads. Even though Namibia was rated as the top African country with the best road infrastructures by the World Economic Forum in their Global Competitive Report of 2014/15, it is evident that good infrastructure alone is clearly not sufficient to save our people from succumbing on the country’s roads, and only significant behavioral change among road users can make the road safer to everyone,” the MVA Fund said.