Heavy policing expected during Easter weekend

Monday, March 23, 2009
By: 
Nthambeleni Gabara

Witbank - Law enforcement officers will be out in full force, monitoring motorists travelling on the N1 towards Durban, Polokwane, the Beit Bridge border and in particular Moria in Limpopo during the Easter weekend.

The Easter weekend, which falls between 10 and 13 April, is a notoriously busy period on the country's roads. There are two public holidays and schools are usually closed over this period.

"The N1 towards Polokwane, especially the road to Moria City and to Beit Bridge, will be heavily policed. The N3 to the coastal city of Durban and N1 to Free State, Western and Eastern Cape will be no exception," said Transport Minister Jeff Radebe.

He was speaking at the launch of the 2009 Arrive Alive Easter campaign in Witbank on Monday.

The minister said Gauteng, which was home to 40 percent of South Africa's vehicle population, would also be busy with many leaving the province and making their way to holiday destinations.

The department would count on the combined efforts of traffic authorities, including the South African Police Service (SAPS), the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and the emergency services.

Traffic volumes are expected to start picking up on Thursday, 9 April from about 10am and will continue until about midnight that night. On 10 April, traffic volumes will start increasing early in the morning and will return back to normal after midday.

Minister Radebe said the return traffic to various provinces would commence with worshippers from Moria City on Sunday, and all other main routes were expected to be extremely busy throughout that Monday.

Motorists have been urged to stagger their travelling, especially in areas such as in Mpumalanga, along the N4, where there are major road works or toll gates or border gates.

Last year, the Easter road death toll was reduced by 23.8 percent from a total of 319 in 2007 to 243 in 2008.

Minister Radebe said this year government would continue to increase respect for human life and treat road fatalities with the seriousness it deserved.

"Each and every death on our roads is one too many and each and every death or serious injury is a tragedy for the individuals, their families and communities and for the nation," he said.

According to the Minister, more than 90 percent of deaths on the roads follow a traffic violation - therefore it was a serious crime.