Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula says 589 people have lost their lives on South Africa’s roads so far this festive season.
Mbalula released the mid-term statistics on fatalities for the 2019 festive season on Monday to gauge the progress in reversing the carnage on the roads.
"A total of 489 fatal crashes have been recorded, which is a 25% decrease compared to 656 fatal crashes recorded over the same period last year," he said.
"These crashes have resulted in 589 people dying on our roads so far, compared to 839 last year. This represents a significant 30% reduction in fatalities. The majority of those who died were pedestrians at 39%, followed by passengers at 34%, drivers at 26%, and cyclists at 1%."
Gauteng reduced fatalities from 133 last year to 95, KwaZulu-Natal went down from 172 to 135, Western Cape from 85 to 54, Eastern Cape from 102 to 81, Free State from 80 to 56, Mpumalanga from 83 to 40, North West from 60 to 36, Limpopo from 94 to 73 and Northern Cape from 29 to 16.
"In the coming days, we will intensify our efforts on pedestrian and passenger fatalities by ramping up policing inside suburbs, townships and villages. Law enforcement operations focusing on drunken driving and the wearing of seatbelts will also be increased," Mbalula said.
Since the beginning of the festive season campaign, a total of 629 661 vehicles have been stopped in 539 nationwide roadblocks.
This resulted in 231 937 traffic fines being issued to motorists for various transgressions of the law.
"The number of arrests has also come down from 3 052 previously to 2 915, representing a slight improvement in driver behaviour.
"However, we remain concerned about the high number of people who continue to drive under the influence of alcohol," Mbalula said.
A total of 1 397 drivers were arrested for drunk driving while 272 were arrested for driving at excessive speeds, and 438 had outstanding warrants of arrests for failing to pay previous traffic fines.
"Our fight against the carnage on our roads remains steadfast. We will work hard to utilise every possible avenue in law to oppose bail for those caught speeding in excess of 200 km/h in a 120 km/h zone.
"We will apply the same vigour in ensuring those arrested for drunken driving, reckless and negligent driving are also denied bail, as these are major contributing factors to the high levels of fatalities on our roads," Mbalula said.