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Johannesburg – The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) said on Monday that it had issued nearly 20 000 fines for various traffic offences across the country during the Easter holidays weekend.

As traffic authorities brace themselves for a busy day as scores of holiday makers return to urban centres, the RTMC reiterated its message to motorists to exercise patience and respect the rules of the road.

In a statement, the RTMC said reports show that more 800 drivers were arrested from the cars which were stopped and checked for various offences including drunken driving, speeding as well as reckless and negligent driving.

About 500 public transport vehicles were impounded for operating without operating licences or operating on wrong routes. "An analysis of law enforcement statistics show that speeding, overloading of goods and driving without driver's licences or public driver's permits were major offences during this period," the RTMC said.

"A total of 4 605 drivers were caught for speeding, 430 for overloading of goods and 1 907 for driving without driver's licences and public driver's permits."

The RTMC said unroadworthy vehicles were another key factor in road safety. As many as 1 000 fines were issued for vehicles with smooth tyres and 845 for faulty lights.

The RTMC said law enforcement operations would remain in place until all travellers have reached their homes safely ahead of the reopening of schools.

Meanwhile, the N3 Toll Concession reported massive traffic volumes between Durban and Johannesburg at midday, with just over 2 000 vehicles passing the Mooi and Tugela Plaza, while Wilge and De Hoek Plaza both had just more than 1 500 vehicles per hour.