A total of 589 people have lost their lives on South African roads so far, a decline from last year’s figures. File Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)
Cape Town - A total of 589 people have lost their lives on South African roads so far, a decline from last year’s figures.

This is according to Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, who released the mid-festive season statistics on road fatalities for the 2019 season on Monday at the Beit Bridge border post.

Some 489 fatal crashes have been recorded - a 25% decrease compared to 656 fatal crashes recorded over the same period last year.

“These crashes have resulted in 589 people dying on our roads so far, compared to 839 last year. This represents a significant 30% reduction in fatalities. The majority of those who died were pedestrians at 39%, followed by passengers at 34%, drivers at 26% and cyclists at 1%,” Mbalula said.

On the Western Cape roads alone, six pedestrians died at the weekend.

Western Cape traffic chief Kenny Africa said the province had a major problem with pedestrians on roads. Statistics showed that last year from December 1 to December 20, 41 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle accidents and this year, and around the same period, the same number was recorded.

Africa pleaded with pedestrians to stay off the roads when under the influence of alcohol and to face oncoming traffic.

“We will pay serious attention to pedestrians jaywalking on the roads as these people contribute significantly to fatalities,” Mbalula said.

He said since the start of the festive season, 629661 vehicles had been stopped in 539 roadblocks nationwide. This resulted in 231937 traffic fines being issued for various transgressions, fewer than were issued over the same period last year by 101595. The number of arrests dropped from 3052 to 2915.

All provinces recorded a reduction in fatalities, with Gauteng reducing fatalities from 133 last year to 95, KwaZulu-Natal from 172 to 135, the Western Cape from 85 to 54, the Eastern Cape from 102 to 81, the Free State from 80 to 56, Mpumalanga from 83 to 40, North West from 60 to 36, Limpopo from 94 to 73 and Northern Cape from 29 to 16.

“In the coming days, we’ll intensify our efforts on pedestrian and passenger fatalities by ramping up policing in suburbs, townships and villages. Law enforcement operations focusing on drunk driving and the wearing of seatbelts will also be increased,” Mbalula said. “The reductions recorded so far don’t mean we’re out of the woods yet. I’d like to remind everyone that the success we’ve recorded so far should not lead us to complacency.”


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Cape Argus