Cape Town – The South African Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, said a total of 589 people have been killed since the beginning of 2019 festive season.
According to the minister, the fatalities were the result of 489 crashes, the latest update on road fatalities during the festive season which began in mid-November.
Mbalula said the toll remained high in spite a 25 per cent drop from the same period in 2018, when 839 people were killed in 656 fatal accidents.
“The majority of those who died were pedestrians, at 39 per cent, followed by passengers, at 34 per cent, drivers, at 26 per cent, and cyclists, at 1 percent,“ he said.
The minister, however, attributed most of the fatal accidents to drunk driving, speeding, reckless and negligent driving.
According to him, law enforcement agencies have made 2,915 arrests, a slight drop from the 3,052 arrests recorded during the same period in 2018.
Mbalula added that the drop represented a slight improvement in drivers’ behaviour,.
“However, we remain concerned about the high number of people who continue to drive under the influence of alcohol.
“Among those arrested this year, 1,397 were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and 272 were arrested for speeding,“Mbalula said.
He promised to utilize every possible avenue to oppose bail for those caught speeding in excess of 200 km/h in a 120 km/h zone as well as for those arrested for drunk, reckless and negligent driving,
“As these are major contributing factors to the high levels of fatalities on our roads,” he said.