On Tuesday, Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula revealed in his preliminary festive season fatalities statistics that close to 700 people have died on the South African roads since the start of the festive season, reports Times Live.
The minister said, “It is regrettable that 690 people lost their lives on our roads over the period December 1 to 20, compared to 732 over the same period in 2019.” He added that although it represents a 5.7% decline, it is no reason to celebrate.
“These fatalities that could have been avoided, amplify the pain of those whose loved ones have succumbed to Covid-19 while other relatives perish on our roads.”
In his report, Mbalula stated that three provinces experienced an increase in fatalities since last year:
- Eastern Cape – 21.5% recorded increase and 96 fatalities compared to 79 in 2019
- Limpopo – 18.4% recorded increase and 90 fatalities compared to 76 in 2019
- Mpumalanga – 15.9% recorded increase and 73 fatalities compared to 63 in 2019
Provinces recorded an increase in the number of fatalities
• EC recorded a 21.5% increase, with 96 fatalities compared to 79 in 2019.
• LMP recorded an 18.4% increase, with 90 fatalities compared to 76
• MP recorded a 15.9% increase, with 73 fatalities compared to 63 . https://t.co/v6kJNxs4th pic.twitter.com/fJehB7mlSw
— Minister of Transport |Mr Fix (@MbalulaFikile) December 22, 2020
The other six provinces reported a decline in fatalities:
- Free State – 28.8% recorded decline and 47 fatalities compared to 66 in 2019
- Western Cape – 26.6% recorded decline and 69 fatalities compared to 94 in 2019
- Northern Cape – 23.5% recorded decline and 13 fatalities compared to 17 in 2019
- Gauteng – 18.7% recorded decline and 122 fatalities compared to 150 in 2019
- North West – 5.8% recorded decline and 49 fatalities compared to 52 in 2019
- KwaZulu-Natal – 3% recorded decline and 131 fatalities compared to 135 in 2019
“While it is encouraging to see a decline in fatalities to date, we are still a long way from achieving the 20% target we have set for ourselves this year,” said Mbalula. “I urge all road users to exercise extreme caution as we enter the second phase of our peak travel period.”
He said that roads were “fairly” busy during the first peak, that being 18 and 19 December.
Mbalula expressed his condolences, saying, “I wish to convey my heartfelt condolences to the families, friends and loved ones of all those who have perished on our roads. Similarly, I wish a speedy recovery to all those who have been injured on the roads.”
According to the publication, Mbalula said that law enforcement officers would intensify their efforts to put a stop to risky driving.
“Our tactics will include visibility in residential areas and in the proximity of places where festivities occur in order to deter those who would otherwise be emboldened to drive under the influence of alcohol.”
He added that there would be a focus on hotspots.
“We will equally intensify the enforcement of alert level 1 regulations and directions without fear or favour. This includes enforcing the curfew for all road users.”
Mbalula also revealed that a total of 416 roadblocks were conducted between 1 and 20 December, with 634 166 vehicles being stopped and checked, says the publication.
“A total of 109 529 motorists were issued with traffic fines for various offences. On the other hand, a total of 2 415 vehicles were discontinued, while another 1 801 vehicles were impounded.”
Statistics also show that 2 111 motorists were arrested – 896 for drunken driving, 336 for speeding and 588 warrants of arrests for outstanding traffic fines were served.
“These preliminary statistics demonstrate that the vast majority of motorists are law-abiding citizens, who obey the rules of the road. Yet there are those who pay scant regard to the rules and place the lives of others at risk through irresponsible, reckless and negligent behaviour.
“These are the people who do not deserve our mercy. These are criminals we must throw a book at.”