Jake’s Sunday Post theme on WordPress, this week, is ‘Work‘, and this got me thinking about our South African manual labourers, who one often sees being transported to work by their employers, in this fashion. I took this pic on our way up to Johannesburg a few weeks ago.
It troubles me greatly, whenever I see these pick-up trucks, sometimes heavily laden with equipment, whilst the unfortunate workers, have to sit either on top of all this stuff, or around the sides of the truck, whilst it speeds on its way down the highway.
Yesterday, whilst driving back from the hospital, we were behind a vehicle which had large sheets of wood stacked on it, at an angle. The worker was lying across the wood, holding an unsecured upside-down wheelbarrow against it. This of course is highly dangerous, both for the man on the back, and people travelling behind, as should that wheelbarrow slip, it could fly off and go straight through the windscreen. If the truck driver had to brake hard, both the worker and the wheelbarrow would be thrown off. Of course we overtook as soon as it was safe to do so, and didn’t hang around to take a photo. I remember many years ago, hearing a news report, of a woman driver being tragically killed when a sewing machine came off the back of the ‘bakkie’ in front, and was projected through her windscreen.
Every week, there are so many reports of accidents, with maybe ten to fifteen people being injured or killed, when the two-seater vehicle on which they were being transported, was involved in an accident.
(pic from ‘Drive Alive’ site)
I just can’t understand why nothing is done to legislate against these contractors who have so little regard for the lives of the people who work for them. Not only that, but the traffic police turn a blind eye to this dangerous practice. I’ve seen police vans drive past these vehicles and their human cargo, and just ignore them. We, including the drivers of these vehicles, can be heavily fined if spotted not wearing seat belts in our cars, and there are campaigns to encourage us to always “belt up.” Motor cars are specifically designed for the conveyance of persons, and have all the modern safety devices, such as seat belts, air bags etc., but for people being carried in the goods section of trucks, there are no effective safety devices! How can that be? I’ve never seen this phenomenon in the UK, or in the USA. Could it be that the lives of our workers are considered cheap in Africa?
Have a great day, everyone. Chat again soon.