Twelve people died in two horror accidents involving trucks in KwaZulu-Natal at the weekend - one of them a four-month-old baby.
In the first accident on Saturday eight people, believed to be from the same family, died when their bakkie collided with two other vehicles on the R103 near Ladysmith.
In the second accident on Sunday four died on the N2 near Ezingolweni, 40km inland from Port Shepstone, when a truck collided with two cars.
The deaths came as traffic volumes into KZN peaked before Christmas.
Andy Visser, of the N3 Toll Concession, said 2200 cars had come into the province at the busiest time, between 10am and 11am, on Saturday. This had slowed to 1300 for the same time on Sunday. About 1000 vehicles had left at the busiest time, he said.
Luyanda Majija, of ER24, said the Ladysmith accident appeared to have been a head-on collision between the bakkie, a truck and a minibus, while the family was travelling from Cape Town to Zululand.
Robert McKenzie, of KZN Emergency Medical Services, said eight people had been found dead at the scene. Four others had been taken to Ladysmith Provincial Hospital.
In the southern KZN accident, McKenzie said, the area where it happened, Wilson’s Cutting, was known to emergency workers for accidents.
Thato Mosena, of the Road Traffic Management Corporation, said traffic volumes were expected to spike just before New Year, and again on 5 and 6 January when people would be returning home.
Kwanele Ncalane, of the KwaZulu-Natal department of transport, said more than 3500 personnel would be keeping order on the roads. Police visibility would be high.
“We have already had some loss of life on our roads these holidays, so we have the metro police and the Road Traffic Inspectorate officers out to curb the number of accidents,” he said.
Ncalane urged people to follow the rules of the road and to be patient and tolerant.
Metro police spokesman Eugene Msomi said nearly 40 people had been arrested for drunken driving at the weekend.
In the rest of the country, traffic on the N1 north, between Pretoria, Polokwane and the Beit Bridge border post, was picking up, as was the N2 to and from Somerset West and Cape Town.
Eastern Cape traffic spokesman Tshepo Machaea said although the roads had been quiet on Sunyesterday, 10 people had died in accidents on Saturday.
In Limpopo five people died in accidents at the weekend, taking to 39 the death toll in that province since the start of the month.
In Mpumalanga, three people died yesterday morning in accidents involving minibuses. More than 60 people have died on that province’s roads this month. Information for other parts of the country was still being collated. - The Mercury