The scene of the horror-crash that claimed the lives of 17 people on the N1 outside Mookgophong on 12 January. Photo supplied.
Date: 20 January 2022 By:
The Minister of Transport, Mr Fikile Mbalula, released the 2021 festive season fatality statistics on Tuesday, with Limpopo recording both the deadliest crash and the “fastest” motorist for the period.
“Over this past festive season, we saw some of the most heart-wrenching crashes claiming many lives in a single crash. On 12 January, a head-on collision claimed 17 lives and injured eight on the N1 near Mookgophong, Limpopo. The bus driver lost his life along with the passengers due to the bus catching fire that entrapped them inside immediately after impact,” Mbalula said in his speech delivered at the Grasmere Toll Plaza. He added that he found the fact that more fatalities occurred per crash this year, with passenger fatalities constituting 38% of fatalities, compared to the 32% of the previous period, very alarming.
Regarding speed, Mbalula said a total of 605 drivers had been arrested for driving at excessive speeds of between 190 km per hour to well above 220 km per hour. The speedster travelling at the highest speed was arrested in Limpopo, travelling at 225 km an hour.
A total of 1 685 fatalities were recorded over this festive period, which is a 14% increase on the previous period. The main causes of road fatalities during this period were jaywalking, speeding, wet or slippery road surfaces, overtaking across barrier lines, and poor visibility.
Only two provinces showed a decline in fatalities, namely the Eastern Cape and Kwazulu-Natal. The Eastern Cape recorded the largest decline in fatalities with a reduction of 7.9% or 210 fatalities, compared to the same period last year, when it had 228 fatalities. Similarly, KwaZulu-Natal recorded a significant 6.5% decline in fatalities. The province recorded 275 fatalities, compared to 294 in the same period last year.
Mbalula said he considered the fact that the Northern Cape had recorded the highest increase of 97%, moving from 33 fatalities in the previous period to 65 in this period, the most disturbing. The Western Cape equally recorded a massive 55.6% increase in the percentage of fatalities, moving from 133 fatalities the previous period to 207 in this period. North-West recorded a 25.3% increase moving from 95 fatalities in the previous period to 119 in this period, while Mpumalanga recorded an increase of 24.3% by moving from 152 fatalities in the previous period to 189 in this period.
Limpopo recorded a 16.5% increase, moving from 194 fatalities in the previous period to 226 in this period. Gauteng recorded a 15.5% increase by moving from 238 fatalities in the previous period to 275 in this period, while the Free State recorded the lowest increase of 7.2%, moving from 111 fatalities in the previous period to 119 in this period.
As for law enforcement, 651 roadblocks were conducted throughout the country, and they issued 264 690 fines for various traffic offences. Of particular interest is that 21 431 of these fines were for drivers who failed to wear seatbelts while 22 766 were for people who were driving without licences. “It is our intention to ensure that the law bites and driving on our roads without a driving licence carries a heavy penalty, otherwise the mooted points demerit system will make no difference in driver behaviour,” Mbalula said, later stating that the government would appeal the recent ruling of the Pretoria High Court declaring the AARTO Act unconstitutional and invalid.
A total of 4 251 un-roadworthy vehicles were discontinued while 4 073 vehicles were impounded. To clamp down on drunken driving, speed and other moving violations, the officers arrested 6 169 motorists and 1 586 of these were for drunken driving.