Pretoria – A total of 237 people died on South Africa’s roads from 29 April to 2 May.
Speaking in Pretoria on Tuesday, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said 179 fatal collisions were experienced on the country’s roads during this period.
“This past long weekend was one of the saddest moments in the history of our country with many lives lost on the roads and scores injured,” Minister Peters said.
Four major collisions claimed the lives of about 30 people throughout the country.
In Gauteng’s Randfontein, 15 people died when a truck collided with a minibus taxi. In the Western Cape, five people lost their lives when an SUV crashed into a sedan in George.
In Limpopo, nine people died when a minibus crashed into a trailer, near Nylplaza in Mokopane, and one person died in a multiple car collision involving four cars on the N2 between East London and Mooiplaas in the Eastern Cape.
“Most worrying are the causes of these major crashes which include drunk driving, overtaking when it is unsafe to do so, reckless and negligent driving as well as speeding,” Minister Peters said.
Compared to the same period last year, there has been an increase of 106 fatalities.
“Informed by the ever escalating road carnages, I urge the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) to move with urgency and unprecedented speed to conclude engagements with the Department of Justice and Correctional Services as well as the National Prosecuting Authority to reschedule traffic offences with a view of introducing mandatory minimum sentences,” Minister Peters said.
In addition, she has instructed the RTMC to speed up the process of establishing the Traffic Law Enforcement Review Committee to deal with the determination of norms and standards for the traffic law enforcement fraternity, as well as the integration of all traffic law enforcers.
Invitations for nominations for the establishment of the Traffic Law Enforcement Review Committee will be widely publicised with the objective of recruiting people with appropriate and relevant skills.
“The intensified collaboration and engagement between the Department of Public Service Administration, the RTMC, provincial governments and labour formations will pave the way for the introduction of a 24/7 work shift within the traffic law enforcement fraternity ensuring the availability of officers on the road at all material times,” Minister Peters said.
She conveyed her condolences to families and friends who lost loved ones and has wished the injured a speedy recovery.