Latest Global Traffic Index shows that Cape Town is now the most congested city in South Africa. File photo: David Ritchie.

Johannesburg - For as long as anyone can remember, Johannesburg has held the unenvied reputation as South Africa's traffic nightmare capital, and it was no surprise when TomTom's 2012 global traffic index backed this notion.

But was anyone, outside of the Western Cape, actually expecting the Mother City to eventually take the lead?

TomTom has just finished compiling its 2013 data and the results show that Cape Town is now South Africa's most congested city. To compile these reports, TomTom uses its eyes in the sky to measure travel times on roads across the globe, including over 95 000km of roadway in South Africa alone.

The latest report showed that congestion increased in all six South African cities that were measured, with the country-wide rating rising to 21%. In global terms, Cape Town emerged as the world's 33rd most congested city (from 138 measured) while Joburg was ranked 48th.


1. Moscow - 74%

2. Istanbul - 62%

3. Rio de Janeiro - 55%

4. Mexico City - 54%

5. Sao Paulo - 46%

6. Palermo - 39%

7. Warsaw - 39%

8. Rome - 37%

9. Los Angeles - 36%

10. Dublin - 35%


33. Cape Town - 27%

48. Johannesburg - 25%

65. East London - 22%

73. Pretoria - 22%

98. Durban - 18%

134. Bloemfontein - 12%


The 2013 report also shows that the South African cities experience more congestion on secondary roads than on highways.

In fact, TomTom states that Joburg motorists would cut their delay time in half if they took the highway instead of a secondary road. Yes, that would be easier if there were no such thing as e-tolling!

That problem doesn't yet exist in Cape Town, and the report also concludes that Capetonians could save six minutes of every hour by taking the highway during peak periods.


Many interesting little facts emerge when delving through the data and the 2013 report shows that South Africans spend an average of 13 minutes per hour stuck in traffic, and if all your traffic time in one year were to be condensed into one sitting, it would amount to 10 days.

It was also found that all SA cities, except East London, experience more congestion during the morning peak periods than during the evening peak. Cape Town's morning peak congestion level is 71 percent, compared to 58 percent in the evening - and that's SA's highest in both cases.


Another interesting titbit is that South Africa emerged as the only country in the world where traffic congestion is at its worst on a Monday - in fact the rest of the world experiences its traffic peak on a Wednesday.

The best morning peak day for Durban, Pretoria, Joburg and East London is Friday and the latter two also have it easiest on Friday afternoons. Cape Town and Bloemfontein experience their best morning on a Thursday.

CLICK HEREfor the full report