39 killed on SA roads each day
Johannesburg - Thirty-nine people have been killed each day on South Africa's roads between December 1 and 26, the Road Traffic Management Corporation said on Thursday.
A total of 1 023 people were killed over that period, in 853 crashes, spokesperson Ashref Ismail said.
"Given the high number of major fatal crashes recorded this festive season as a result of dangerous driving, traffic authorities around the country have been instructed to confiscate and provisionally suspend the driver's licences of any offender."
Ismail said authorities would show no mercy to those who drove recklessly and inconsiderately.
"Barrier line infringements, red-light jumping and drinking and driving will lead to an arrest and offenders will have their licences suspended."
On Monday, 19 people were killed when a minibus taxi and a car collided head-on on the R26 between Frankfort and Tweeling in the Free State. Both the car and the taxi caught fire, Free State police spokesperson Sergeant Mmako Mophiring said on Tuesday.
"Some of the people were burned beyond recognition after the impact. Four occupants from the car and 15 from the taxi died on the scene."
Seven people were taken to the Mafube District Hospital in Frankfort. Two critically injured people were taken to Pelonomi Hospital in Bloemfontein.
"Major contributory factors to accidents remain speeds too high for circumstances, especially at night and during inclement weather, drinking and driving, drinking and walking and dangerous overtaking on barrier lines in the face of coming traffic," said Ismail.
Comparisons to previous years could not yet be done as all crash reports had not been captured.
On December 27 Limpopo traffic police arrested 53 drivers, including the driver of a Mini Cooper who was doing 214km/h in a 120km/h zone, Ismail said.
A total of 1 149 people were killed on South Africa's roads between December 1 and December 28 in 2010 and 1 304 during the same period in 2009.
The Justice Project SA on Wednesday said there was no legal basis for traffic police to confiscate the licences of traffic offenders on the spot, as Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele had threatened.
"I am not saying licences should not be confiscated or suspended for serious offences, there is a way to do so," the organisation's chairperson Howard Dembovsky said.
He said only the courts may revoke a licence.