File picture: Independent Media

JOHANNESBURG - At least 33 people died in 31 road accidents in Gauteng over the long weekend, the provincial community safety department said on Tuesday.

The deceased are 15 pedestrians, 11 drivers, five passengers and two motorcyclists, said Gauteng MEC (member of executive committee) Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane.

''So far the number of reported fatalities that occurred over the long weekend are unacceptably high. Twenty of the 33 fatal crashes occurred between 7pm and 4.30am. We shall continue to ensure that there is high visibility of law enforcement officers in highways and places of entertainment. Road safety activation will also be intensified, including roadblocks to focus on unroadworthy vehicles to ensure safety for our passengers and drivers.''

''I urge the law enforcement agencies to double efforts and declare a zero tolerance not only to drivers who display unbecoming behaviour but also our own officers soliciting bribes from motorists. We cannot allow few individuals to tarnish the image of dedicated and respected members of our policing fraternity.''

The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) said there was a high number of accidents and deaths since the start of the festive season. Spokesman Simon Zwane said the long weekend was a challenging one on the country's roads.

“It’s been a very challenging weekend, and the statistics are not looking good at all. We’ve had five major accidents that we are investigating… that is only from Saturday to yesterday (Monday), about 36 fatalities. There have been too many people dying in single accidents. There were 12 in the Western Cape, five in North West, five in Kranskop [KwaZulu-Natal]  and there was a police officer killed because a drunk driver failed to stop at the road block. So, it has not been an easy weekend at all,” Zwane told SABC television news channel.

African News Agency (ANA)