9.5 million to flock to Moria this Easter

Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Siphiwe Nyathi

Polokwane - More than nine million pilgrims are expected to descend on Limpopo ahead of the Easter weekend.

Roads and Transport Department spokesperson Joshua Kwapa said the province was bracing itself for a massive influx of pilgrims to Moria City from Wednesday. The pilgrims are mainly from neighbouring provinces and neighbouring countries.

“Approximately 9.5 million pilgrims are expected in Moria to attend the annual Easter church service. Besides the traffic heading to Moria, scores of people, mainly economic migrants and holiday makers, will also make their way to Limpopo,” said Kwapa in a statement.

“As a result of these high traffic volumes expected, the major arterial routes and ports of entry will be congested.”

Kwapa said the increased traffic volumes during Easter will pose challenges such as an increased number of buses, which leads to congestion and delays at toll plazas and border gates.

He said other challenges included overloading of public passenger transport, pedestrian jaywalking, breaking down of vehicles and trailers, reckless and negligent driving, drunken driving and over-speeding.

He further warned any motorist travelling in or to Limpopo this Easter weekend to observe traffic laws or face the consequences.

“We will not tolerate reckless, negligent and irresponsible use of our roads this Easter weekend. Gone is the era where traffic violators get away with a slap on the wrist, only to be involved in devastating road crashes claiming innocent lives on the road ahead.

“The department will adopt a zero tolerance approach, ensuring that all road users obey all traffic regulations. Traffic regulation violators are therefore warned to violate traffic rules at their own peril, as they will face the consequences,” said Kwapa.

He said during Easter last year, 23 people lost their lives on Limpopo roads compared to 25 recorded fatalities during Easter 2011. He said this represented a decrease of 8% in fatalities.

“For the department, one life lost is one life too many. However, our planned, stringent and focused operations are aimed at further reducing carnage on our roads,” he said.

He said this year’s Easter Arrive Alive campaign will focus on the five pillars of the Decade of Action which are: road safety management, safer roads, vehicle safety, safer road users and post-crash response.

He said the major contributory factors to accidents during Easter 2012 were speeding, pedestrian jaywalking, drunken driving, driver fatigue and stray animals.

To curtail road deaths this year, the department, under MEC Pitsi Moloto, will implement a focused and intensified campaign.

“The campaign is centred on an intensive law enforcement plan that will mobilise the province’s 1 094 traffic officers and 33 road safety officials. The plan will further focus on hazardous locations and the omnipresence of our traffic officials who will be deployed on a 24/7 shift basis,” Kwapa said.

To ensure their plan works, the department will deploy 353 marked and 38 unmarked traffic police and road safety vehicles on identified critical routes daily.

The identified priority routes include N1 Mantsole to Musina R521 Dendron road, R71 Polokwane to Tzaneen, R101 Polokwane to Bela Bela and R36 Tzaneen to Mashishing.

The department will also deploy three vehicles fitted with high-tech Moving Violations Recorders at identified hazardous areas within the province.

“Roving speed checks will also be undertaken at various key strategic areas in the province. Law enforcement visibility will be heightened through our partnership with the South African Police through our ‘Operation Blue Lights on’ initiative,” Kwapa explained.

Moloto called on all road users to be responsible on the roads and refrain from being selfish, reckless and negligent.

“We all need to realise that road safety is our individual and joint responsibility. The department will use all the resources at its disposal to ensure that our roads are safe and that all road users arrive alive,” said Moloto. – SAnews.gov.za

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