- Fikile Mbalula says he is concerned about the number of crashes on the roads.
- Mbalula released the preliminary festive season statics on Wednesday.
- He said there was a spike in crashes involving multiple fatalities.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said he was concerned about the high number of major crashes on South African roads, in which five or more people die in a single accident.
Mbalula was speaking on Wednesday morning on the Mabopane Highway in Soshanguve during the release of the provisional festive season fatalities statistics.
He said 35% of passengers died on the country's roads in 2021, followed by pedestrians at 34%.
He said 26% of drivers lost their lives, while the death rate of motorcyclists and bicycle riders stood at 1% each.
"The vehicle types that had the most contribution to fatal crashes were minibuses (taxis), light delivery vehicles and trucks," he said.
Mbalula said most fatal crashes happened during the early hours of the morning and early evening, and that it occurred between Friday and Sunday.
"We are seriously concerned about the high number of major crashes, where five or more people perish in a single incident. We have seen a 142 % spike in crashes with multiple fatalities, resulting in 17 such crashes for far this year, compared to seven over the same period. The number of fatalities from major crashes also increased from 34 last year to 111 this year."
According to the statistics, fatalities increased in five provinces, with exception of the Free State, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo, Mbalula said.
The Eastern Cape recorded the highest decline of 30.7 percent in fatalities - from 127 fatalities in 2020 to 88 so far this year - the minister said.
The other provinces recorded the following performance:
• Free State recorded an 8.3 percent decline in fatalities - from 60 in 2020 to 55 over the same period;
• Limpopo recorded a 16.8 percent decrease in fatalities - from 107 in 2020 to 89 over the same period;
• KwaZulu-Natal recorded a 24.3 percent decrease in fatalities - from 173 in 2020 to 131 over the same period;
The highest increases have been recorded in the following provinces:
• Northern Cape recorded an increase of 60.0 percent - from 20 fatalities in 2020 to 32 over the same period;
• Western Cape recorded an increase of 49.3 percent - from 71 fatalities in 2020 to 106 over the same period;
• Mpumalanga recorded an increase of 26.4 percent - from 87 in 2020 to 110 over the same period;
• North West recorded an increase of 10.9 percent - from 55 in 2020 to 61 over the same period; and
• Gauteng recorded an increase of 1.4 percent - from 148 in 2020 to 150 over the same period.
"Despite these grim statistics, it is important to note that thousands of road users continue to respect the law and obey the rules of the road. This is a responsibility we must all take seriously in order to make a difference and ensure that our roads are safe to travel on.
"Our traffic law enforcement officers continue to punch above their weight in their planning for a safer festive period. However, the responsibility for safety rests with all of us as road users. I, therefore, call on all citizens to exercise this responsibility to make South African roads safe," the Mbalula said.
"We are proud of your efforts and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year. I also urge all drivers and passengers to adhere to Covid-19 health protocols."
Meanwhile, Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) spokesperson Simon Zwane has spoken out against officers who solicit bribes from motorists.
He said the challenge was that, when they get arrested, their cases took long to conclude in court. He said some authorities also fail to immediately institute disciplinary action against the officers.
Zwane said when the authorities do not institute disciplinary action against officers who solicit bribes from motorists, it sends the wrong message.
"We should see a speedy conclusion to these cases," he said.
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