Majority of fatalities during Easter weekend were due to alcohol abuse and speeding, says KZN transport MEC
Durban – The Easter long weekend has left the province under a dark cloud as 47 lives were lost on the roads and the Department of Health recorded 10 Covid-19 related deaths.
When asked whether the permitted consumption of alcohol at establishments had any bearing on road fatalities and arrested drunk drivers, Transport MEC Peggy Nkonyeni said they could not criticise this decision.
“We emphasise that people should be responsible for their lives and get another person to drive if they have consumed alcohol. The majority of the fatalities recorded were due to alcohol abuse and speeding.”
The MEC said they had seen about 2 000 vehicles yesterday headed north out of the province. Nkonyeni briefed the media on road fatalities over this period at a roadblock at the Mariannhill Toll Plaza yesterday.
A 38-year-old man, who was apparently not able to get out of his vehicle on his own when police arrested him for driving drunk in Scottburgh over the weekend, is expected to appear in court today.
The man was among 111 motorists arrested for drunk driving while road fatalities increased by seven this year compared to 2019.
The department was not comparing this year’s recorded fatalities (47) to last year’s (6) as the country was then still under hard lockdown.
Victor Chetty, director of the Road Traffic Inspectorate of KZN, said the man arrested on the South Coast for driving drunk had the highest alcohol volume reading of 2 681mg per 1 000ml.
“This is over 11 times the legal limit. This was done over a breath screening device. We drew blood so people will appear in court on Tuesday. He was in bad shape, but luckily we dealt with him otherwise he would have killed people on the road,” he said.
Chetty said they stopped 14 740 vehicles and 1 335 motorists were prosecuted for various traffic offences.
“This included charging 324 motorists for speeding and arresting one motorist for exceeding the 120km speed limit in Mtunzini doing 170km,” said Chetty.
He said 111 vehicles were suspended and 78 public transport taxis were impounded for not having an operator licence.
South African National Taxi Council chairperson Boy Zondi said they were happy the taxis impounded were removed from the province’s roads.
“We are happy that those impoundments and suspensions were done before any accidents,” he said.
Zondi said of the recorded fatalities, none had involved taxis.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health said the province continued to record the second highest number of laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 cases countrywide, contributing 22% (334 445 cases).
“The average number of cases recorded in the past seven days declined below 150 cases a day. KZN continues to rank the fourth highest in terms of fatalities countrywide, following the Eastern Cape, Gauteng and Western Cape. KZN is contributing 19% (10 236) of the deaths,” said the department.
Of the total deaths in the province, 210 (2%) were home deaths.
“Of the new deaths reported, none occurred within 24-28 hours prior. The number of hospitalisations continues to decline with the decline in number of cases. KZN is currently cleaning and harmonising data with the districts. These may lead to updates in the number of deaths provincially and/or at district level.”
The Daily News