The number of people who died on South African roads during the festive season has decreased by 10% when compared to the previous period.
Releasing the 2019/20 Festive Season Road Safety Report, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said the total number of fatal crashes were down by 3% from 1 438 in 2018/19 to 1 390 in 2019/2020.
“This resulted in a 10% reduction in the number of fatalities, from in 1 789 fatalities in 2018/19 to 1 617 fatalities in the 2019/2020 festive season,” Mbalula said on Thursday.
According to the Minister, 111 people died on the roads in the Free State, 144 in Mpumalanga, 136 in the Western Cape, 110 in the North West, 49 in the Northern Cape, 242 in the Eastern Cape, 354 in KwaZulu-Natal, 217 in Limpopo and 254 in Gauteng.
Mbalula was on Thursday addressing the media in Tshwane on the festive season report, which comprises statistics on road fatalities, and law enforcement and road safety operations carried out across the country during the holidays.
The report covers the period starting from the 1st of December 2019 and ending on the 15th of January 2020.
“Our analysis further demonstrates that the main causes of fatal crashes over this period were pedestrians, single vehicle overturning, hit and run and head-on collisions. The majority of road users, who died on the roads, were pedestrians (40%), passengers (34%), drivers (25%) and cyclists (1%),” Mbalula said.
The province that recorded the highest reduction in fatalities is the Free State, which experienced a 35% decline, followed by Mpumalanga with 23% and the Western Cape with 19%.
The North West recorded a 16% decline, Northern Cape 13%, Eastern Cape 7% and KwaZulu-Natal 5%.
Increases, however, were recorded in Limpopo, where fatalities increased by 12% and 1% in Gauteng.
“Vehicles mostly involved in fatal crashes were light motorcars at 42%, light delivery vehicles at 20% and minibuses or combis 9%.
“The fact that minibuses contributed less than 10% to fatal crashes confirms the success of Operation Hlokomela, which is an initiative of the taxi industry. It again shows that law enforcement operations focused on the public transport sector are bearing fruit,” Mbalula said.
He said the number of people who lost their lives cost the economy in excess of R168 billion.
The number of vehicles that were stopped and checked over the festive period increased from 1.3 million in the previous period, to 1.5 million.
Law enforcement officials conducted at total of 1 924 roadblocks nationwide, compared to 775 roadblocks in the previous period.
“More than 573 147 motorists were issued with traffic fines. The number of traffic fines issued decreased by 191 862, as a result of increased compliance with road regulations by motorists,” the Minister said.
Zero tolerance to lawlessness
Mbalula said government has adopted zero tolerance to fraud, corruption, drunken driving and speeding.
Eighty-five people – including traffic officers, vehicle testing station staff and ordinary motorists – were arrested on charges of bribery, fraud and forgery.
“Three vehicle testing stations in Limpopo were shut down as a result of the anti-corruption investigations undertaken to eliminate the fraudulent issuing of vehicle roadworthy certificates.
“Six law enforcers - namely three members of the South African Police Service, one member of the South African Defence Force, a member of Correctional Services and security officers - were arrested in the Eastern Cape for drunken driving.
“It is unacceptable that law enforcement officials are found breaking the law, and we call on the courts to consider their careers as an aggravating factor to give them the toughest sentences possible,” the Minister said.
A medical doctor was also arrested in Gauteng after he was found to be under the influence of alcohol following his involvement in a collision.
A total of 9 414 motorists were arrested for various offences, including drunken driving, speeding, reckless and negligent driving, and for outstanding warrants. – SAnews.gov.za