Speech delivered by the Minister of Transport, Mr Fikile Mbalula, on the occasion of the release of the Provisional Festive Season Statistics at the R80 Soshanguve Highway on 22 December 2021 at 09h00
Deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga;
MEC for Roads & Transport in Gauteng, Mr Jacob Mamabolo;
Acting Director-General, Mr Mthunzi Madiya;
Chairperson of the RTMC Board, Mr Zola Majavu;
Members of the Board of the RTMC;
CEO of the RTMC, Adv Makhosini Msibi;
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Allow me to start by paying homage to our brave officers who lost their lives in the line of duty. We are deeply saddened at the recent passing of Provincial Inspector, Moeder Motlhako, who was knocked down by a vehicle while on duty on the N4 Dinokana in the North-West. We convey our deepest condolences to her family, her loved ones, and her colleagues.
One death on the road is one death too many. Let us observe a moment of silence.
Our initiative to sustain road safety messaging and law enforcement 365 days, 24 hours and 7 days a week must capture the imagination of the nation. It must equally serve as a central tenet of the social compact that must define the collaborative effort and role of every organ of civil society in the fight to arrest the scourge of fatalities on our roads.
Each year, when we measure the ground we have covered and evaluate the gains we have made in making our roads safer, we must equally draw invaluable lessons from the encounters of our long and tortuous journey. It is only by internalising these lessons will we be able to overcome challenges and make tangible strides towards the realisation of our goal.
Today we mark the mid-point of the festive season which officials ends on 11 January 2022. Having to contend with the elements while enforcing the rules of the road has always been a daunting task. The heavy rain season is upon us and our officers continue to put their best foot forward under trying circumstances.
We have also begun to see increasing numbers of travellers on our roads. This also results in a high number of traffic violations, particularly those associated with drunk driving, speeding as well as reckless and negligent driving.
A total of 710 970 vehicles were stopped and checked during the first half of the festive season campaign, with the intention to remove unroadworthy vehicles from our roads. A total of 1 561 vehicles were discontinued, 1 820 impounded and 2 639 drivers were arrested for various offences ranging from drunk driving to excessive speeding and operating vehicles without a driving licence.
The worst speedster was caught on the N1 Mokopane, where clocked 225 kilometres an hour in a 120-kilometer zone. The worst drunk driver was caught on the N2 North at Winkelspruit in KwaZulu Natal with a breath alcohol reading of 1.95mg per 1000 mil of breath. The legal breath alcohol limit is less than 0.24mg in 1 000 ml of breath.
I am pleased to report that the man who was recorded driving a Range Rover recklessly and protruding from a driver’s window has been identified by investigators from the Road Traffic Management Corporation.
His arrest is imminent and he will face the full might of the law for his unacceptable behaviour that places the lives of other road users in harm’s way.
Human factor still remains the main causal factor for most of the crashes during this period.
Statistics reveal that people who died on our roads this year were passengers at 35% followed by pedestrians at 34%, drivers at 26% and motorcyclists at 1% and bicycle riders at 1%.
The vehicle types that had the most contribution to fatal crashes were minibuses, light delivery vehicles and trucks.
Most fatal crashes happen during the early hours of the morning and early evening. Most crashes occur between Friday and Sunday.
Year-on-year, the number of fatalities has marginally declined by 3,1% from 848 in 2020 to 822 this year. 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 7 over the same period. The number of fatalities from major crashes also increased from 34 last year to 111 this year.
Our statistics show that fatalities increased in five provinces with exception of the Free State, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal and Limpopo.
The Eastern Cape recorded the highest decline of 30,7% in fatalities from 127 fatalities in 2021 to 88 so far this year.
The other Provinces recorded the following performance:
- Free State recorded an 8,3% decline in fatalities from 60 in 2020 to 55 over the same period.
- Limpopo recorded a 16,8% decrease in fatalities from 107 in 2020 to 89 over the same period.
- KwaZulu Natal: recorded a 24,3% 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% from 20 fatalities in 2020 to 32 over the same period;
- Western Cape recorded an increase of 49,3% from 71 fatalities in 2020 to 106 over the same period;
- Mpumalanga recorded an increase of 26,4% from 87 in 2020 to 110 over the same period.
- North West recorded an increase of 10,9% from 55 in 2020 to 61 over the same period.
- Gauteng recorded an increase of 1.4% 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.
As the holiday season gets into full gear, we anticipate that a high number of vehicles will be crossing our land border posts in the coming few days as our compatriots from the region will also be making the journey home for Christmas.
We will therefore strengthen our efforts by adding immigration and cross-border officials in our operations to strengthen our campaign.
Lastly, I would like to send well wishes to all our law enforcement officers, who will be working over the Christmas and New Year’s Day. 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. All drivers must wear masks at all times and ensure that passengers are sanitized before entering the vehicles and that everyone wears their masks. We equally have a responsibility to vaccinate and encourage others to do so as well.
During this busy periods, millions of South Africans will be on our roads travelling home to spend Christmas with loved ones, while others will be making their way to holiday destinations. I urge all motorists to behave responsibly on the road. Look out for pedestrians and exercise patience in heavy traffic. We owe it to posterity to ensure that those travelling do so safely and Arrive Alive 24/7 Waya Waya.
I thank you.