File pictures: Matthew Jordaan/Independent Media

Pretoria  - The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) is investigating a spate of major car crashes in which 16 people died this weekend, saying drunk driving is suspected to have played a key role in many of the crashes.

The driver of a sport utility vehicle (SUV) was arrested on Sunday morning after crashing into a group of men on the pavement in Randburg in Johannesburg. Four people were killed and five were seriously injured, RTMC spokesman Simon Zwane said on Sunday.

"The driver is suspected to have been driving under the influence of alcohol. He is expected to be charged with culpable homicide and driving under the influence of alcohol," he said.

Six more people were killed in KwaZulu-Natal when two vehicles collided on R102 near Phoenix in Durban on Saturday night. Two other people were injured.
 
"Another crash involving driving under the influence of alcohol is under investigation after a South African Police Service [SAPS] vehicle collided with another vehicle in Mpumalanga province on Friday night. Six people were killed," Zwane said.

"It is alleged that an SAPS vehicle, driven by a police captain with his spouse as passenger, collided with another vehicle between Mayflower and Dundonald in Mpumalanga."

The vehicles were travelling in opposite directions. It was alleged that the driver of the other vehicle was driving while under the influence of alcohol. The captain and his spouse were taken to hospital with injuries. Two other people sustained serious injuries. 

Meanwhile, the driver of a truck that was involved in a horror crash with two minibus taxis that claimed 18 lives last week was expected to appear at the Belfast Magistrate's Court in  Mpumalanga on Monday.

"The Mozambican is expected to be charged with 18 counts of culpable homicide after the truck he was driving collided with a minibus and midibus that were transporting mineworkers to work.
 
"Six of the deceased were buried over the weekend in Machadodorp. The other people are expected to be laid to rest in the Eastern Cape, Limpopo, the Free State, and Gauteng," Zwane said.