SA roads calm over Easter
Johannesburg - Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele was encouraged that motorists appeared to be heeding road safety rules over the busy holiday period, his spokesperson said on Friday.
"We have always stated that it's always a minority who are not observing the rules of the road," Tiyani Rikhotso said.
"Those who are in the majority must bring on board those who are not convinced of obeying the rules of the road so we can eradicate the carnage on our roads."
"We want to come to the stage where we are not reporting on the loss of life."
"People should drive within speed limits, and wear their seat belts, particularly in public transport where new minibus taxis are fitted with seat belts.
250 vehicles pulled off
"We believe that if we focus on this during the Easter weekend we'll be able to make a dent in the number of accidents," he said.
Meanwhile, authorities had taken 250 unsafe public passenger vehicles off the road so far, as holiday traffic volumes peak on major routes around the country, the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) said.
RTMC spokesperson Ashref Ismail said: "Some vehicles are extremely defective, especially as regards steering, brakes and tyres."
In some areas, vehicles were seriously overloaded.
The busiest roads on Friday were: the N1 north through Pretoria, Polokwane and Beitbridge, the N3 south towards Durban, the N4 from Pretoria to Nelspruit and Komatipoort and the N1 from Mangaung to the Western Cape. The Beaufort West/Aberdeen route was also carrying much heavier traffic than expected.
With 1 400 vehicles an hour passing through Kranskop toll plaza on the N1 towards Limpopo and Zimbabwe, and over 1 300 an hour on the N3 to Durban by 11:00, Ismail urged motorists to be extremely cautious, particularly when overtaking.
Ismail thanked motorists who were observing road safety and said it was a "very small number" who were just pushing forward "no matter what".
Two serious accidents had been reported so far in Polokwane, one involving a bus, in which 27 people were injured.
Spokesperson Joshua Kwapa said the touring bus was on its way to Zimbabwe when the accident happened.
"The bus driver had fallen asleep and the bus hit the cement barrier and overturned. There were no fatalities and injured people were treated on the scene."
Make up for lost time
Kwapa said over 7 000 cars entered Limpopo through the Kranzkop Plaza toll gate from midnight to 06:00 on Friday. "People are impatient because of the congestion and try to make up for lost time, but we ask people to exercise patience and change their behaviour on the road," said Kwapa.
Tebatso Mabitsela, spokesperson for the Limpopo government, said: "Everything is under control. Road traffic management is doing very well and traffic officers are busy."
Mabitsela said the province's executive committee (Exco) sent a message of appreciation to tourists who chose Limpopo as their holiday destination, as it boosted their economy.
"Members of religious formations such as the Zion Christian Church and others embarking on their respective pilgrimages to Limpopo have been wished safe and blessed journeys," he said.