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SAIA donates over R1.5 million to improve road safety and combat crime

“Motor vehicle crashes have replaced theft as the primary point of concern for insurers. In addition, the unacceptable levels of crime in South Africa remain of great concern to the South African Insurance Association (SAIA), its members and the country at large. This is why the SAIA Board approved an 8th annual contribution towards Business Against Crime South Africa (BACSA),” said Ronnie Napier, Chairman of the SAIA Board, at a cheque handover media event in Illovo on 14 May 2009.

The SAIA donated R1 535 000 to BACSA on behalf of its members. These funds will be used to contribute to a road safety initiative in co-operation with BACSA and the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD), as well as for BACSA’s Violent and Organised Crime Initiative which seeks to reduce the incidence of the trio crimes, including aggravated vehicle crimes, business and household robberies.

“SAIA has over the years been an effective anti-crime partner. Their continued support has helped to achieve progress on a number of important anti-crime initiatives. BACSA is deeply appreciative of the donation from SAIA. The money is being directed towards delivering anti-crime projects on a sustainable level as well as putting in place, in conjunction with the JMPD, preventative safety measures on Gauteng roads. BACSA looks forward to making further inroads in the fight against crime through such partnerships, as the fight against crime is reliant on the contribution of all stakeholders. BACSA thanks SAIA for their tangible support,” says Siphiwe Nzimande, CEO of BACSA.

“SAIA members have, since 2002, contributed annually towards Business Against Crime South Africa with a view to supporting crime-combating measures which specifically address the high rate of vehicle theft and hijackings. We are proud to say that motor theft has reduced by around 50% (measured per thousand vehicles), and is no longer the primary cause of concern for motor insurers. We would like to thank BACSA and the South African Police Services (SAPS) for their efforts in this regard,” says Mr Napier.

“Road safety was identified as a high priority area in our industry, specifically because road accidents have a huge impact on motor claims, with about 70% of claims being road accident related. The ever-increasing frequency of vehicle accidents and the cost of repairs could be partly attributed to the vehicle population in South Africa, estimated at over 9.5 million, as well as the inability of the road infrastructure to cope with the increase in traffic density,” says Mr Napier.

Road safety is a global challenge. The World Health Organisation in its review of “The Global Burden of Disease” projects changes in the ranking of the 15 leading causes of death and disease worldwide. In this review, the rating of road accidents as a cause of death is projected to move from the ranking of 9 in 1990 to 3 in 2020.

“It is because of these and other concerning statistics that we are proud to contribute as an industry to improve the safety on our roads to the benefit of everyone in South Africa, while still supporting crime initiatives to make sure that the successes are sustained,” says Mr Napier.