142% spike in crashes with multiple deaths, says Mbalula

Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula. PHOTO: Gallo Images/Phill Magakoe

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula says there has been a significant spike in crashes that resulted in multiple deaths across South Africa’s roads since December started.

Releasing the preliminary festive season road safety statistics, Mbalula said he was concerned about the number of major crashes despite the slight decrease in deaths compared to the previous year, The Citizen reports.

“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,” the minister said during a media briefing on Wednesday.

Mbalula indicated that the country has seen a 142% spike in multiple fatality crashes.

“[This resulted] in 17 such crashes so far this year, compared to [seven] over the same period. The number of fatalities from major crashes also increased from 34 last year to 111 this year,” he said.

Human error, the minister highlighted, remained the most common contributor to road accidents.

“Statistics reveal that people who died on our roads this year were passengers at 35%, followed by pedestrians at 34%, drivers at 26%, motorcyclists at 1%, and bicycle riders at 1%,” he said.

Mbalula further pointed out that the vehicle types that had the most contribution to fatal crashes included minibuses, light delivery vehicles, and trucks.

He added that most fatal crashes happen during the early hours of the morning and early evening between Friday and Sunday.

The minister said statistics showed that fatalities increased in five provinces excluding Free State, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo.

Provinces that saw a decrease in fatalities:

  • Eastern Cape recorded the highest decline of 30,7% from 127 fatalities in 2020 to 88 so far this year.
  • Free State recorded an 8,3% decline from 60 in 2020 to 55 over the same period.
  • Limpopo recorded a 16,8% decrease from 107 in 2020 to 89.
  • KwaZulu Natal: recorded a 24,3% decrease from 173 in 2020 to 131.

Provinces that saw an increase in fatalities:

  • Northern Cape recorded an increase of 60.0% from 20 fatalities in 2020 to 32 so far this year
  • 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.
  • North West recorded an increase of 10,9% from 55 in 2020 to 61.
  • Gauteng recorded an increase of 1.4% from 148 in 2020 to 150.

“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,” he said.

The minister said there was an increasing number of travellers on the roads, which results in a high number of traffic violations.

He indicated that more than 2,600 drivers were arrested for various offences including drunk-driving and excessive speeding.

The Citizen