Pretoria – The number of people who died on South Africa’s roads during the Easter period has decreased by 46 percent, says Transport Minister Dipuo Peters.
According to the preliminary Easter 2016 Road Safety Report, which was released by Minister Peters on Tuesday, there were 156 fatalities on the roads this year compared to 287 fatalities for the same period last year.
“While we welcome the reduction in fatalities this Easter, we do however believe that we still have a long way to go.
“For as long as there are people dying on the roads, our work must and will continue,” she said.
The report entails figures from Thursday, 24 March to Monday, 28 March.
All provinces, except the Northern Cape, recorded a decrease in the number of fatalities. The Northern Cape recorded the same number of fatalities as last year.
“Notably, the North West recorded the highest decrease of 71 percent with the number of fatalities reduced from 28 to eight.
“They were followed by the Free State with a decrease of 52 percent. Fatalities reduced from 23 to 11,” Minister Peters said.
KwaZulu-Natal experienced a drop of 49 percent, with fatalities reduced from 55 to 28.
Minister Peters said the sharp decline was achieved in spite of an increase in the number of registered vehicles in the country, which was by 333 226.
The Department of Transport conducted its Easter activations, road safety education and law enforcement operations as early as March 11, specifically focusing on promoting roadworthiness among public transport vehicles.
“It is very concerning that some unwarranted behaviours continued unabated and this has been ably demonstrated by the successful arrests of 913 people for drunken driving and 502 who were caught speeding,” she said.
A driver was arrested in the Western Cape for the alleged possession of mandrax and dagga, while in Limpopo a driver was arrested with illicit cigarettes.
Three hijacked vehicles were recovered in Gauteng and the highest speed recorded (227 km/hour) was in KwaZulu-Natal, whilst in Gauteng a motorist recorded a speed of 206 km/hour.
“In the week leading up to the start of Easter (21st to 23rd March), the number of fatalities on the roads had decreased dramatically to 45 deaths compared to 121 of the same period last year,” Minister Peters said.
She commended the Road Traffic Management Corporation’s National Anti-Corruption Unit in their efforts in dealing with bribery, fraud and corruption.
Two traffic officers were arrested in Gauteng and Mpumalanga on allegations of soliciting bribes and corruption while another was reported in the Western Cape.