Sunday, April 5, 2020

Botswana tops world road death toll as corruption soars

Botswana has the highest road death toll in the world, according to the 2007 figures published by The Economist, based on statistics available between 1999 and 2003.

Botswana has the highest road death toll in the world followed by South Africa with 29 fatalities for 100 000 people.
Previous investigations by The Sunday Standard revealed that Botswana roads are death traps because hundreds of vehicles on our roads are unsafe and not road worthy and thousands of road users are believed to have bought their drivers licenses from the country’s growing road traffic licensing black market.

Last year, the Botswana Police Service closed down the Mochudi Transport Offices after smashing a syndicate comprising a Senior Transport Officer and her subordinate who were selling drivers’ licenses and extorting bribes from learners taking driving and theory tests.

Police raided the transport offices on Tuesday and uncovered a well coordinated scam that had eluded DCEC investigators for months. The police raid followed a tip off that some learners who were registering to write their driving theory tests were passing brown envelopes to transport officials.
Sunday Standard investigations also turned up reports of a syndicate that sells road worthy certificates to owners of unsafe vehicles that are not road worthy.

Hardest hit by the growing rate of Botswana road accidents are insurance companies and the MVA. Sunday Standard investigations recently unveiled a scam involving police officers, big car dealers, panel beaters and insurance assessors.

The paper revealed how panel beaters have police officers on their payroll and, in some instances, they use their connections in the police service to organize fake police reports for clients who were involved in accidents while drunk or whose cars were involved in accidents while being driven by drivers who do not have driving licenses. The paper cited an incident where a Toyota car rolled in Kanye while being driven by unlicensed children and the panel beater helped the owner get a fake police report from Martins Drift police station by bribing police officers.

The MVA has also had the worst of Botswana’s road accidents crisis. The MVA claims provisions jumped from P 6.3 million to P 48 million in 2005 while the fuel levy remained flat at P 69 million and there are fears that with the current regime of no fault basis the provisions are likely to go up.

“The police are doing everything possible to reduce fatalities on the roads, but we do have a big problem of bad driving,” Kapinga said. “Young people who are driving expensive BMWs and VWs display loutish and thuggerish behavior on the roads. And their behavior does not match the quality of vehicles they are driving. And what is surprising is that these people are educated and are from universities.”

RELATED STORIES