By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
Photo Credit: GCIS.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said 690 people had died on the country's roads since the beginning of December, compared to 732 over the same period in 2019.
That is about 5% decline compared to last year.
Mbalula briefed the media in Pretoria this morning, saying the slight decline in road fatalities was nothing to celebrate.
"While it is encouraging to see a decline in fatalities to date, we are still a long way from achieving the 20% target we have set for ourselves this year. I urge all road users to exercise extreme caution as we enter the second phase of our peak travel period. "he said.
Mbalula said his department would intensify visibility in hotspots and where there were events to ensure those who were not supposed to be driving stay off the roads.
"These preliminary statistics show that our road users are law-abiding citizens. But there are also those who are hell-bent on breaking the laws and we will show no mercy in dealing with them," he said.
During the first traffic peak between 18 December and 19 December, an average of 2439 vehicles per hour were recorded on the N1 from Gauteng to Limpopo.
The N3 from Johannesburg to Durban recorded an average of 1547 vehicles per hour.
"Since the start of the festive season, our traffic law enforcement authorities kept a close eye on vehicle movements and transgressions of the rules. A total of 416 roadblocks were conducted from 1 to 20 December, with 634,166 vehicles having been stopped and checked, "said Mbalula.
The festive season fatalities statistics for provinces that recorded a decline are as follows:
- Northern Cape recorded a decline of 23.5%, with 13 fatalities compared to 17 in 2019.
- Western Cape recorded a decline of 26.6%, with 69 fatalities compared to 94 in 2019.
- Free State recorded a decline of 28.8%, with 47 fatalities compared to 66 in 2019.
- Gauteng recorded an 18.7% decline, with 122 fatalities compared to 150 in 2019.
- North West recorded a 5.8% decline, with 49 fatalities compared to 52 in 2019.
- KwaZulu-Natal recorded a 3% decline, with 131 fatalities compared to 135 in 2019.
Three provinces recorded an increase in the number of fatalities compared to the same period last year. The statistics are as follows:
- Eastern Cape recorded a 21.5% increase, with 96 fatalities compared to 79 in 2019.
- Limpopo recorded an 18.4% increase, with 90 fatalities compared to 76 in 2019.
- Mpumalanga recorded a 15.9% increase, with 73 fatalities compared to 63 in 2019.
109,529 motorists were issued with traffic fines for various offences, while 2415 vehicles were discontinued, and 1801 vehicles impounded.
Provinces that recorded an increase in the number of fatalities are the Eastern Cape with 96 fatalities compared to 79 in 2019, Limpopo with 90 fatalities compared to 76 in 2019 and Mpumalanga with 73 fatalities compared to 63 in 2019.
The Department of Transport has set a target to ensure a 20% decline in fatalities this festive season.