Johannesburg - Heavy traffic was expected on South Africa's major road routes and at border posts as people who had travelled for the Easter weekend began returning home, the Road Traffic Management Corporation said on Sunday.
“People are starting to leave today (Sunday). We are expecting another busy day of traffic tomorrow (Monday), which should start declining from around 3pm as people reach their destinations,” said spokeswoman Thato Mosena.
“We are expecting major traffic today (Sunday) on all major routes and also at the borders posts such as Beit Bridge, for Zimbabwe, and those leading from Mozambique, which are expected to see major delays mainly due to the higher than normal volume of traffic.”
Traffic on the R71 from Moria, where members of the Zion Christian Church gather for Easter, was also expected to see heavier-than-normal traffic on Sunday.
“This afternoon it has started to peak. The last pilgrims were expected to start leaving from around 2pm,” said Mosena.
“Previously, approximately 800 to 1000 vehicles an hour had been experienced passing through different toll routes in the area. Obviously, the exact figures differ from time to time.”
Regarding the number of road deaths from a national perspective since the start of the Easter weekend, Mosena said Transport Minister Dipuo Peters was expected to announce the preliminary figures within the next week.
It was also too early too judge whether safety initiatives implemented by the RTMC had been a success.
“It's a bit too early to judge regarding the success of safety initiatives,” she said.
“Once the Easter period has passed, the RTMC would look at its data and make conclusions from there.”
The Gauteng community safety department said in a statement on Sunday that seven people had died on the province's roads, up to the end of Saturday night, since the start of the Easter weekend.
“The statistics provided are subject to change as authorities are busy verifying or investigating other or more accidents,” said spokesman Obed Sibasa.
“Two people were killed last night in Soweto after the car they were travelling in, lost control and rolled on Chris Hani Road and Dingizulu Street in Dlamini.”
Of the seven people killed, three were pedestrians.
Sibasa said it was believed drunk driving, driving at excessive speeds, unsafe or dangerous overtaking, pedestrians walking along or crossing highways, and drinking and walking had contributed to the seven deaths.
“Gauteng Traffic Police urge road users to adhere to the rules of the road,” he said.
“To be responsible road users, motorists (must) be considerate towards Pedestrians and to comply.”
Pedestrians must also refrain from drinking and walking, and avoid walking along or crossing freeways.
“We advise them to use overhead pedestrian bridges where provided,” he said.
KwaZulu-Natal emergency services said on Sunday that three people had died on the province's roads over the last 24 hours.
Two people were killed on the N3 south, towards Midlands Mall, while one person died on the N2 Hluku turn-off, provincial emergency services said in a statement. - Sapa