Bloody Easter weekend as more than 100 die on SA's roads

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A road accident in Sandown Johannesburg on Sunday night.
A road accident in Sandown Johannesburg on Sunday night.
  • At least 47 people died in road accidents in KwaZulu-Natal, 30 road users were killed on Gauteng's roads, 21 others died in the Western Cape and seven people were killed in accidents in the Eastern Cape.
  • Scores of motorists were arrested for a range of offences, including drunk driving and speeding.
  • In the Western Cape, more than 32 000 vehicles were on the roads during curfew hours.

At least 105 people lost their lives in road accidents in four provinces over the long Easter weekend. 

Of the total deaths, 47 people died on KwaZulu-Natal's roads, 30 road users were killed in Gauteng, 21 occurred on Western Cape roads and seven people died in accidents in the Eastern Cape, according to traffic authorities.

Traffic officers across the country braced themselves on Monday for an increase in traffic volumes as holidaymakers headed home after the long Easter break.

In addition to the 30 fatalities in Gauteng, 40 motorists were arrested for a range of offences, including drunk driving. Most of the perpetrators were apprehended in Carletonville on the West Rand. Most of the fatalities occurred as a result of drunk driving, unsafe overtaking, speeding, overloading and jaywalking on major freeways. 

Major routes and freeways leading into Gauteng were heavily congested on Monday.

"The Gauteng traffic police, together with various traffic authorities, will continue to conduct various road safety operations across the province in an effort to save the lives of road users as the Easter weekend comes to an end," said Gauteng traffic police spokesperson, Sello Maremane.

Maremane added that activities were expected to reduce road accidents within the province.

"Police will continue to be visible on Gauteng major freeways and patrolling will be intensified to ensure that road users comply with the rules of the road. Lastly, drivers are urged to be vigilant, patient and to adhere to road safety rules and regulations," Maremane added. 

Eleven people sustained injuries, ranging from minor to serious, after they were involved in a crash in Sandown, Johannesburg, in the early hours of Sunday, according to Netcare 911. The victims were stabilised before they were transported to hospital. 

Traffic officials in the Western Cape have been pl
Traffic officials in the Western Cape have been placed on high alert as traffic volumes increase on the province's roads.

More than 350 000 vehicles moved through the Western Cape's main routes - the N1, N2, N7 and R27.

Western Cape transport department spokesperson Jandrè Bakker said unconfirmed reports suggested that there were 21 fatalities in the province over the long weekend, and that six occurred on provincial roads.

Bakker said 74 000 vehicles passed through those routes on Sunday alone.   

On Monday morning, close on 9 000 vehicles were counted on the roads, Bakker added.

"We remind road users that the curfew is still in place and we are concerned about vehicles travelling during curfew hours," Bakker said.

More than 32 000 vehicles on the Western Cape's roads travelled during curfew hours over the weekend, said Bakker. 

Bakker said:

We are out on the road and we won't hesitate to stop you, fine you and have you wait until curfew hours are lifted for you to continue with your journey.

KwaZulu-Natal Transport  MEC Peggy Nkonyeni said 47 people were killed on provincial roads between 1 and 4 April.

She added that 111 drivers were arrested for various offences, including drunk driving and speeding.

Speaking at a roadblock at Mariannhill Toll Plaza, Nkonyeni described the behaviour as unacceptable.

Those involved in accidents include a motorcyclist and his passenger, who died after a head-on collision with a bakkie.

Netcare 911 said the accident happened at 13.16 on Sunday in Mhlabunzima Road, near Natal Crushers Pietermaritzburg.

Spokesperson Shawn Herbst said the motorcycle passenger, an adult female, sustained critical injuries and was treated on the scene before she was transported to hospital, where she died of her injuries.

Meanwhile, in the Eastern Cape, seven people died in road accidents on Sunday night while four people sustained injuries in the accidents. 

Eastern Cape transport department spokesperson Unathi Binqose said the biggest accident happened on the N6 highway near Penhoek Pass, between Komani and Jamestown.

The accident occurred at about 22.30 on Sunday when a Kia SUV, containing five occupants, drove from the direction of Komani and collided head on with an Isuzu that contained one occupant.

Four of the five occupants in the SUV were declared dead on the scene and a fifth occupant, a 9-year old child, was severely injured.

The truck driver sustained minor injuries, 

In another accident in the province, two people were crushed to death in Gqeberha during a three-car pileup. Binqose said the cars, a VW Polo sedan containing three occupants, a Honda ballade containing two occupants and a Ford Ranger containing one female occupant, clashed at a busy intersection at about 22:45.

The three occupants in the VW Polo, two males and one female, were declared dead on the scene while two people from the Honda and one from the Ford Ranger sustained severe injuries. 

The injured were taken to St Georges hospital for further medical assistance, said Binqose.

He said cases of culpable homicide were opened for each of the incidents.

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