Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula. Picture Courtney Africa/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula. Picture Courtney Africa/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Mbalula bemoans 690 deaths in festive season crashes

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Dec 22, 2020

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Johannesburg - Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has released the preliminary road fatality statistics for the festive season which show that 690 people have so far died due to car accidents.

Mbalula said the fatalities of 690 were recorded between December 1 and 20. This is a decline of 5.7% from the same period last year.

The minister released the latest festive season road fatality figures on Tuesday, during a festive season campaign in Tshwane.

He said the decline from last year was not an issue to celebrate as it did not meet the target to end fatal crashes on the roads, especially during the peak festive season.

"Six-hundred people dead on the road just in December. (It) is not a good number. We cannot be happy with that. We need to decrease those numbers," Mbalula said.

The overall statistics show that six provinces recorded a decline in fatalities for December:

* The Northern Cape recorded a decline of 23.5% with 13 fatalities, compared to 17 last year.

* The Western Cape recorded a decline of 26.6% with 69 fatalities, compared to 94 last year.

* The Free State recorded a decline of 28.8% with 47 fatalities, compared to 66 last year.

* Gauteng recorded a decline of 18.7% with 122 fatalities, compared to 150 last year.

*There has been a 5.8* decline witnessed in North West with 49 fatalities, compared to 52 last year.

*In KwaZulu Natal, the decrease was marginally smaller with a 3% decline with 131 fatalities, compared to 135 last year.

Three provinces recorded an increase in fatalities this year. The Eastern Cape recorded a 21.5% increase with 96 fatalities, compared to 79 last year.

Limpopo has also seen an increase of 18.4% for road fatalities with 90 deaths, compared to 76 last year.

Mpumalanga recorded a 15.9% increase in road fatalities with 73 deaths, compared to 63 last year.

Mbalula said traffic officials had been keeping a close eye on road incidents since the start of the month. He said officials faced a bigger task this year as they also need to ensure compliance with Covid-19 level regulations. A curfew has been placed between 11pm and 4am daily.

He said 416 roadblocks has been conducted countrywide between December 1 and 20.

A total of 634 166 vehicles were stopped on the roads and checked. Just over 1800 vehicles were impounded.

The busiest route has been the N3, from Joburg to Durban, which recorded 1 547 vehicles an hour on average – a small decline from last year.

The periods that often see large traffic numbers are the days leading up to Christmas, News Year and mid-January as people prepare for the reopening of schools.

During December 18 and 19, 2 439 vehicles were recorded on the N1 from Gauteng to Limpopo.

Mbalula said statistics showed that people did comply with road regulations, but he warned that several people do not obey the rules.

"Many people do comply. But there are some who wake-up and decide that SA is a banana republic. Statistics show campaigns are having an impact. Many people are not travelling in numbers," the minister said.

He said that in the days leading up to other peak festive season periods he hoped the fatality figures did not rise.

Political Bureau

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