Durban - The KwaZulu-Natal provincial government, under Premier Sihle Zikalala, will tighten its grip this Friday on the N2 freeway in northern KZN with a focus on enforcing traffic regulations, assessing Covid-19 compliance in public transport and crime fighting.
Zikalala will be joined by the KZN MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Peggy Nkonyeni during the Christmas Eve roadblock.
“KwaZulu-Natal as one of the preferred tourist’s destinations is already experiencing high volumes of traffic on busy transport corridors, including the N3 and N2.
“The heightened enforcement operations are part of the provincial festive season plan which was launched by Premier Zikalala early this month in order to curb crime, crashes and road fatalities during the festive season and beyond,” the premier’s office said on Wednesday.
Besides the usual festive period traffic, major carriageways in the northern parts of KZN are likely to be busy because of the Jacob Zuma events that are scheduled to take place on Thursday and next Monday.
Zuma was set to host a get-together at Nkandla on Wednesday, but it was rescheduled for tomorrow. The former president will also be hosting a “bring and braai” on December 27, according to a circular doing the rounds on social media.
As of 8am this morning, around 273 000 vehicles had passed through the Mariannhill toll plaza, according to live statistics. A total of 133,416 vehicles branched off in Pietermaritzburg and 140 387 arrived in Durban.
Tourism KZN estimates that 820 495 domestic tourists will visit the province during the festive period and is likely to contribute around R1.9 billion to the local GDP.
With the influx of tourists, however, also comes an increased risk on the roads, as well as the risk of further spreading the Covid-19 virus. The virus is in the fourth wave, with the Omicron variant in the air.
Between December 1, 2020, and January 11, 2021, 1,448 people died on South African roads in 1,210 fatal crashes over the festive period. This represented a decrease compared with the 1,616 people who died during the 2019/2020 season.
During the first 20 days of December last year, 690 people died in road-related accidents.
KZN Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane revealed yesterday that the province had reached a new infection rate of more than 4,000 since the weekend.
“In the latest 24-hour reporting period, which is as at the end of yesterday, we had recorded 2,496 new infections. The day before, on Sunday we had registered 4,135 new cases. Prior to that, which is Saturday, we had registered 4,202, while on Friday we registered a staggering 5,134.
“On Thursday, which is the 16th of December – the official start of the peak holiday season – we had 5,821 new cases. This was down from 5,924 for the previous day, which was Wednesday, the 15th of December,” Simelane said.