Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters File photo: Oupa Mokoena

Pretoria - Bribing traffic officers contributes to the lawlessness on South Africa's roads, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said on Wednesday.

“We are appealing to the moral conscience of our society,” she said in Pretoria at a briefing on road safety measures over the Easter weekend.

“You contribute 1/8through bribery 3/8 to allowing vehicles that are supposed to transport people becoming weapons. But also, you contribute to allowing people to become murderers.”

Given the knock-on effect it had on road safety across the country, corruption should be dealt with.

“We need to deal with corruption because it is that level of corruption that increases the carnage on our roads,” Peters said.

Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) chairman Zola Majavu said inspectors were being sent to license testing centres and facilities that issued roadworthy certificates to ensure fraudulent activity was quashed.

Earlier, Peters said preliminary figures from over the Easter weekend this year showed 193 people were killed in 148 crashes across the country.

“The report was compiled by the police, evaluated by the RTMC, and verified by provincial heads of departments of transport and their respective political heads,” Peters said.

KwaZulu-Natal had the highest number of fatalities with 49 (from 39 crashes), followed by the Eastern Cape with 36 (19), Limpopo 30 (23), and Gauteng 23 (22).

Mpumalanga had 19 (18), Free State 15 (nine), followed by the Western Cape with eight (six), North West seven (seven) and the Northern Cape six (five).

“If we make reference to the two previous years, in 2012 we recorded 181 crashes which resulted in 217 fatalities,” Peters said.

“And in 2013 we recorded 201 crashes, which resulted in 241 fatalities.”

This meant headway had been made in reducing the number of crashes and road deaths on South Africa's roads, the minister said.

This was despite growth in both population size and the number of vehicles on the road.

Pedestrians accounted for 40 percent of those killed.

“This figure has become an almost permanent feature in our statistics. We need to really deal with the 40 percent of pedestrians. That is our biggest barrier right now.”

She said 283,323 vehicles were stopped and checked, 43 433 notices issued, 1 094 vehicles discontinued, 1 457 vehicles impounded, 330 motorists were arrested for drunken driving, and 10 motorists arrested for reckless or negligent driving.

The figures captured were for the period starting from Thursday midnight, April 17, to midnight on Monday April 21.