Lockdown: 28 people die on SA's roads over Easter

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula.

Twenty-eight people, many of them pedestrians, were killed on South Africa's roads during the Easter weekend, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula announced on Friday.

The 28 people died in a total of 26 accidents during the holiday period, which the transport department records as starting on the day before Good Friday until Family Day on Monday.

Mpumalanga recorded the highest number of deaths at seven, with KwaZulu-Natal registering six deaths, five in the Eastern Cape, three each in Gauteng, North West and the Western Cape, while one person died in Limpopo.

There were no crashes or deaths recorded in the Free State and Northern Cape.

In 2019, 126 people died on the country's roads during the Easter weekend.

A year earlier, the department registered 309 road deaths.

Travel during the 2020 Easter holiday period was significantly curtailed due to national lockdown regulations in effect to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Non-essential travel has been prohibited since 26 March when the lockdown started.

Mbalula said 11 motorists were arrested for drunk driving and one for speeding this month. More than 700 people were arrested for the violation of road traffic laws.

The minister noted that "any attempt to compare year-on-year figures would be an exercise in futility".

"[T]he material conditions this Easter are fundamentally different from a normal period where traffic is able to move freely," said Mbalula.

"The reduction of the bloodbath remains our concern, not even a concern, it's part of our programme of action. You will remember that last year the president the 'Safety on our roads' campaign and that campaign continues."

Mbalula said the sharp reduction in traffic volumes also resulted in a drop in the number of violations recorded.

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