'It's hectic': Still no Moria, but roads countrywide busy for Easter break

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Easter traffic (Road Traffic Management Corporation)
Easter traffic (Road Traffic Management Corporation)
Road Traffic Management Corporation, Twitter
  • It's the first proper Easter weekend since the Covid-19 lockdown. 
  • There is no gathering at Zion City in Moria this year, but the road to it is still considered one of the most dangerous in the country. 
  • Authorities are bracing themselves for peak traffic and crashes.

It is the first proper Easter long weekend since the Covid-19 lockdown, and authorities are bracing themselves to manage peak traffic, help prevent crashes, avoid drownings at beaches and control movement at busy border posts.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said earlier this week the busiest Easter break routes are usually the N1 from Gauteng to Limpopo; N3 from Gauteng to KwaZulu-Natal; N2 from the Western Cape to the Eastern Cape; N14 from Gauteng to the North West and N12 from Gauteng to Mpumalanga.

"It's hectic," Limpopo Transport Department spokesperson Mike Maringa told News24 on Thursday afternoon. 

"There are 1 500 cars per hour passing at the tollgate already," he said of the country's northern-most province.

Even though the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) will not be holding its annual Easter pilgrimage in Moria, the road to it is still notoriously dangerous, particularly at night, and motorists and pedestrians should be alert and careful. 

"There is no Moria this year, but that road has been identified as one of the most dangerous roads in the country," Maringa. 

The Moria gathering was put on hold to prevent a mass contraction of Covid-19. The annual pilgrimage is a spiritual highlight for ZCC followers. 

Maringa implored motorists not to speed up when they passed traffic officials.

"Slow down," he said.

The Limpopo Department of Transport has already set up vehicle checking stations to cut down on faulty vehicle-related crashes in the exodus to the north.

The province also deals with a rush for the border to Zimbabwe, as people pop over for a family visit. 

The department asked cross-border travellers to have their paperwork ready as it would help border authorities make the queues move faster.

ALSO READ | 'Let us take care of each other' - President Cyril Ramaphosa says in Easter message

The Border Management Authority announced the Lebombo border with Mozambique would operate 24 hours per day in terms of a bilateral agreement with Mozambique. 

The Department of Home Affairs will supply a full list of amended border operating hours.

Between 13:00 and 14:00, the N3 Toll Concession company was already counting an increase in traffic heading to the KwaZulu-Natal coast and posted regular updates on the conditions of the roads on Twitter and radio stations. 

Toll plazas are operating at full capacity, and traffic and emergency services officials are dotted along the route. 

Major routes in the Durban area are still blocked after the devastating floods, which also damaged roads and bridges. 

The Airports Company of SA said flights were still able to take off and land, but urged travellers to drive carefully to the airport as infrastructure around the city suffered severe damage, as did some parts of the airport. 

For the Western Cape, the opportunity to take a break in the province also comes with the risk of increased trauma cases in hospitals due to crashes, interpersonal violence, assault and stabbings. 

"You need to make sure you don't become a statistic in our trauma room," said Premier Alan Winde on Wednesday during the resumption of his weekly digicon. 

READ | KZN floods: 'Brave' rescuer swept away, emergency efforts continue to save baby and mom buried alive

Trauma cases are steadily increasing again in the province's hospital after historic dips when alcohol was banned.

lockdown
Trauma cases in Western Cape hospital are increasing again after the lockdown was abolished. (Western Cape government)
News24 Western Cape government, Print Screen from present

Winde said holidays as well as rest and relaxation were good news for the economy. 

In a statement on Thursday, Winde and Transport MEC Daylin Mitchell urged people travelling to comply with the rules of the road, to stay within legal speed limits, to rest frequently and to wear seat belts. 

"Wearing seatbelts reduces the risk of death in motor vehicle crashes by up to 45%. Seatbelts prevent 99% of occupants from being ejected in a crash," they said. 

The provincial government is also working with Lifesaving Western Cape and the National Sea Rescue Institute to ensure the safety of swimmers. 

"It is incredibly reassuring to see the recovery of our tourism and hospitality sectors," said Winde. 



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