Festive carnage a concern: minister

Johannesburg -

The high number of people killed on roads across the country since the beginning of the festive season is a cause for concern, said the department of transport on Thursday.

The death toll for December has climbed to 676. Stock picture:Nizaar Marlie. Credit: Independent Newspapers

“It cannot be considered normal that despite all efforts by government, private sector and civil society to enforce the rules of the road and raise awareness about road safety, we continue to witness the loss of lives on our roads at this scale,” said Transport Minister Ben Martins.

In a statement, Martins said the reports his department was receiving from the Road Traffic Management Corporation on the number of deaths since the start of the festive season emphasised the need for a national dialogue.

“Over 1 000 people have so far been reported as having died due to road crashes since December 1,” said Martins.

“There is a serious and urgent need for a national dialogue about the current state of affairs regarding road fatalities.”

The minister warned motorists who broke traffic laws that they would be arrested.

“Those who drive under the influence of alcohol and drugs must be locked up for they pose a danger not only to themselves but to society as a whole,” he said.

“Those who speed must be removed from our roads, for their irresponsible actions threaten the sustainability of society.”

He said while government was trying to enforce the law on the roads as well as review current legislation where necessary, there was still a need for other sectors to assist in creating safer roads. - Sapa