Yes you heard me right, stealing from road accident victims!!!!Most of the time the members of the public are the first to arrive at an accident scene and for some, road accidents are a lottery won. Immediately after an accident take place, this notorious “highway robbers” rush to the scene disguised as ‘rescuers’ only to start looting from the accident victims. This looting at accident scenes is true. I happened to talk to one of the survivors of some car accident and he narrated to me that his wallet was snatched while he watched hopelessly. It is inhumane to indulge in such vices. Can you imagine? Instead of assisting him, the ‘Samaritan’ was more interested in the wallet. I have heard also heard of an accident involving haulage truck carrying cement along the A1. While the driver was battling to come out of the wreckage of the truck, passersby were busy looting the cement that had been strewn on the tarmac instead of helping him. People took advantage of the fact that there were no police at the scene and started taking bags of cement instead of helping the driver who was badly injured.
It doesn’t even end there!! Last month, a haulage truck carrying cases of beer lost control along the Trans Kalahari highway as it was negotiating a curve and people grabbed the case of the beer that had fallen off. In another scary incident of looting, a petrol tanker had an accident and people could be seen taking fuel with containers, oblivious of the danger that they were putting themselves in. This greed, which is largely powered by ignorance, has cost very many lives as uncontrollable fires inevitably break out at such fuel looting bonanzas. In some instances, looters resist police orders to disperse from the accident scene as it was the case a few years back when Kang police had to fire tear gas canisters and warning shots to disperse people who were stealing from a cargo truck that was involved in a road accident near Phuduhudu. What a shame! Where is the declaration that Botswana is a Christian nation? Where is the moral aspect from us Batswana? Every time there is an accident people run in with the motive of getting something from the victims. These large groups of curious onlookers showing up at road accident scenes even hamper police and emergency service crews' ability to perform their jobs and are putting lives at risk. Worse enough, they’ve got no concern as to whether the road accident victims are in dire need of help. They're just there to have a look and to steal .To them it seems to be more of an amusement event and jackpot for them, rather than tragic for the people involved in the accident. Why? WHY? Shame upon everyone who has had a part in this. This act is purely theft which is a crime punishable by law. Looters who are caught red handed may be charged with ‘common theft’ or being ‘found in possession of stolen property.
It is worth noting that this has far much reaching repercussions on our economy more than we can comprehend, even to the extent of harming the country’s relations with its neighboring states. Of particular concern is the Trans Kalahari Corridor (TKC) which is a road network spanning approximately 1900 kilometers across the territories of Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. It starts in the Gauteng Province in South Africa and continues through Lobatse and Kanye in Botswana, the Mamuno and Trans Kalahari Border Posts, through Gobabis, Windhoek and Okahandja in Namibia and right through to the Port of Walvis Bay. This Corridor is known for providing a short transport link across the entire breadth of the South African Sub-continent. Compared to the traditional routes via southern Namibia to South Africa’s Gauteng, TKC cuts the distance by 400 kilometers, making it a more preferred route and providing cost effective logistical advantages to users. The TKC is a strategic route-of-choice that provides linkages between the Americas and East European markets and the Southern African hinterland. It is therefore with great concern to note that residents of villages along this highway particularly between Kanye and Kang have a tendency of gathering at accident scenes along the highway with the sole intention of robbing the victims specifically cargo trucks. This looting regrettably tarnishes the good reputation of and portrays the country badly towards other members of the corridor especially that Batswana are well known for being welcoming and law abiding. We have to present our country as a destination for investment. Majority of the trucks that pass through Botswana are from neighboring countries, therefore if such cases continue to happen, this will scare potential investors.
How seriously disturbing, annoying and shameful for certain individuals of the country to engage on such unlawful acts such as looting.
It’s even worrisome that some of the goods looted are food stuff which may have been contaminated when falling and hence they could be harmful to humans when consumed and cause health complications.
Let us join hands with the spirit of supporting each other, of helping each other and looking after and working with each other the way we have been taught from the beginning of time. Road safety is not just a concern of the government. It’s my concern. It’s your concern. It’s our concern. We must take action and be proactive in road safety issues.