No sleep till Christmas: last traffic push in rush to get to destinations

2018-12-23 21:04
A Free State Emergency Services helicopter attends to a crash near Hobhouse (Arrive Alive)

A Free State Emergency Services helicopter attends to a crash near Hobhouse (Arrive Alive)

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Three drunk pedestrians have been arrested as emergency services and traffic authorities do all they can to mitigate further disaster on South Africa's roads ahead of Christmas.

"People are impatient on our roads, they take chances," said Western Cape Traffic Chief Kenny Africa.

"Do not take unnecessary chances," pleaded Africa. 

In Western Cape alone, besides the three pedestrians arrested in Vredendal, 1 258 drivers were tested for alcohol. 

Of those, 39 were arrested for driving drunk on Friday and Saturday alone. 

A driver in Caledon was allegedly five times over the legal limit.

"We do not want you to become part of the statistics," he said, adding that eight fatalities had already been recorded over the two days in the province.

Africa and his colleagues in traffic control, emergency services and border control were pushing through the busiest time of the year.

Further afield in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng, 112 pedestrians were arrested for walking on or crossing freeways in the region.

Ekurhuleni Metro Police spokesperson Wilfred Kgasago said this was part of a campaign to prevent their demise on the being run over on N3, R21 and N12.

ER24 spokesperson Ineke van Huyssteen reported several accidents that they had attended to, among them a "double crash" on Pietermaritzburg's Town Hill which left 17 people injured earlier on Sunday. 

In that incident, a taxi and a bus crashed, leaving 10 people with minor injuries.

While paramedics were busy assessing the patients, another bus came around the corner and a second collision followed, and another seven people were injured. 

Further afield in Steadville, Ladysmith, 16 people were injured after a taxi and a bakkie collided and in Eloff in Mpumalanga two people, among them a child, were killed and five others were injured following a head-on collision between a bakkie and a light motor vehicle on the R555. 

Seven people were killed in a taxi rollover between Wepener and Hobhouse Arrive Alive said on Sunday. 

One of the dead was a child.

In the meantime, the various toll companies across the country kept a running feed of conditions, crashes and warnings, which included weather alerts such as a massive thunder storm heading towards Middelburg.

The Department of Home Affairs had brought in an extra 425 staffers to assist at border posts and airports. 

This also applied to round-the-clock services at the bigger border posts such as Beit Bridge, Lebombo and Oshoek. 

Siya Qoza, spokesperson for DHA Minister Siyabonga Cwele said the most common cause of delays for border crossings was not having the proper documentation on hand.

He urged people to have their documents certified and up to date by the time they get to the border posts. 

Read more on:    christmas  |  accidents
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