Acting transport minister Jeff Radebe said his department would conduct a forensic audit into road statistics as there had been a “dramatic deterioration of the quality of formal accident information over the past three years”.

Acting transport minister Jeff Radebe said his department would conduct a forensic audit into road statistics as there had been a “dramatic deterioration of the quality of formal accident information over the past three years”.

Radebe was delivering his budget vote in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) in Cape Town this week.

According to , Radebe said the deterioration was due to the fragmented responsibilities across many authorities in the country.

Radebe said they were planning to establish a National Road Traffic Accident Bureau. “The objective of the project is to undertake a complete and detailed forensic investigation into the current system of recording, capturing, analysing and transferring of accident information. A reliable system is being developed and will soon be implemented,” said the minister.

The acting minister said the department planned to introduce more integrated law enforcement and improve communication. "This seeks to eliminate fragmentation in law enforcement, and promote a co-operative, uniform and focused approach towards the undertaking of law enforcement across provincial boundaries."

CARtoday.com reported earlier this week that the Medical Research Council (MRC) said a new study showed that the road death toll in South Africa had been under-estimated. The Department of Transport has a figure of 7 635 for 2000, but the council said it was closer to 18 000. The MRC said it used various sources, including the National Injury Mortality Surveillance System, a body supported by the departments of health and science and technology, to look at death figures

The MRC said there were differing figures from various departments. The Department of Transport had 7 635 road deaths in 2000, the Department of Home Affairs had a figure of 17 045, while the MRC estimated a figure of 18 443.

The council said the difference between the figures could be because the Department of Transport did not include deaths away from the accident scene.