“One death is one too many,” Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula continuosly reiterated as he delivered the festive season road safety report on Thursday.
The minister said there was a 10% decline in the number of fatalities this festive season compared to the 2018/2019 festive season, a target that they set out to achieve.
But Mbalula was in no celebratory mood.
He said that 10 years ago the ANC had made a commitment to the United Nations’ Decade of Action for Road Safety to reduce the number of road fatalities by 50% by 2020.
“Regrettably very little progress has been made towards the realisation of this goal,” Mbalula said.
He added that though this trend was not unique to South Africa, “the carnage on our roads remains unacceptably high”.
Mbalula said that going into the festive season they had to reimagine their approach to traffic safety.
“We raised the bar and executed a very high profile Arrive Alive campaign,” he said.
“We even employed guerrilla tactics by conducting operations at places and times when those motorists likely to violate the law least expected us,” he added.
This resulted in an increase in the number of vehicles stopped from 1.3 million to 1.5 million.
The number of roadblocks increased from 775 to 1 924.
This, the minister said, led to the number of fines decreasing by 191 862 as a result of increased compliance with road regulations by motorists.
Still, 573 147 motorists were issued with traffic fines.
Mbalula said the campaign was impacted by heavy rains in the second half of December and early January.
“This resulted in a 4.8% increase in road and environment as contributory factors to crashes and fatalities,” he said.
The number of fatal crashes decreased by 3% from 1 438 in 2018/19 to 1 390 in 2019/20.
Number of fatalities:
National: 1617 from 1789
Eastern Cape: 242
Western Cape: 136
Free State: 111
North West: 110
Northern Cape: 49
Gauteng and Limpopo were the only provinces which saw an increase in fatalities.
The Free State recorded a 35% decrease in fatalities, followed by Mpumalanga with a 23% decrease and the North West with a 16% decline.
“Cold drink” (bribes) remained a huge problem for Mbalula.
“We have adopted a zero-tolerance approach to fraud and corruption,” he said.
He announced that 85 people were arrested during the festive season on charges of bribery, fraud and forgery, these include traffic officers, vehicle testing station staff and motorists.