JOHANNESBURG, Dec. 21 — South African Department of Transport said on Thursday that a total of 767 people have been killed on the country’s roads since the festive season began.
Transport Minister Bonginkosi Nzimande released the mid-festive fatalities statistics in Pretoria.
He said that from December 1 to 18, a total of 34 minibus vehicles and 44 trucks were involved in deadly collisions. Most accidents occurred in evening and at night.
Eight provinces have seen increases in fatalities, while only Gauteng saw a 10 percent decline. Kwazulu-Natal lost the highest number of people with 162, followed by Gauteng at 125 and both Limpopo and Eastern Cape recorded 89 fatalities.
The death toll indicates a 16 percent rise from the same period last year. Nzimande said the carnage is unacceptable.
“It is sad to note that we witnessed a period of agony, misery and pain on our roads.”
Driving under the influence and reckless driving have been cited as major contributing factors behind the death toll.
Nzimande said the department is ready to clamp down on road users disregarding traffic authorities.
A total of 2,837 motorists have been arrested since the festive period commenced, 39 percent of them are arrested for drunk driving.
“We have a massive challenge ahead of us and the whole country is looking upon us to stem the tide of crashes,” he said.