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774 dead in January massacre on SA roads

The road traffic system in South Africa is still dysfunctional and road users simply do not follow the traffic rules.

So says Johan Jonck, lawyer for Arrive Alive, who said on Monday that licenses were still being sold and that a full fight against lawlessness and enforcement on SA roads was necessary.

Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula said at least 774 people died on SA roads last month. Last month, 637 fatal accidents were recorded, accounting for 774 deaths – a 75% increase in accidents from 484 and a 78% increase in fatalities, compared to 602 year on year.

“The publication of our first monthly road statistics will help us keep our finger on the pulse of the impact of our interventions,” he said.

“By tracking the patterns of road fatalities every month, we can tailor interventions in a more meaningful way…”

ALSO READ: Overdue driver’s license card ‘almost halved’, says Mbalula

Mbalula said the monthly release of road statistics would also help officials spot trends and increase or modify law enforcement interventions where necessary. He added that the focus last month was on vehicle safety and cargo management.

“3,338 vehicles were stopped and 2,762 were seized as a result,” he said. “January numbers may appear significantly high relative to the holiday season, due to the holiday stats covering the first two weeks of January.”

Jonck said lockdown had played a role in previous figures.

“We should expect increases, but our handling needs a lot more attention and that’s the bottom line,” he said.

“There are too many unlicensed drivers and drivers who do not obey the traffic rules…”

Meanwhile, SA motorists could now apply for or book car and driver licenses online, instead of queuing up at test centers.

Mbalula said the transport ministry had launched a number of online services on Road Traffic Management Corporation’s online platform, which was rolled out nationally after being initially available in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape.

Despite technical difficulties on the first day after the launch of the online system, 112 transactions were made within 48 hours, with a cash value of R63,000.

The faults were resolved.

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