Four people have been killed and two others injured after a collision between a minibus and a car on the R61 between Aberdeen and Beaufort West in the Eastern Cape.

The Transport Department has cautioned drivers to be vigilant on the roads, and take regular rest stops when travelling long distances.

Launching the December Road Safety Campaign on Thursday, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said road safety is nothing without people.

Fatalities on the road remain a major concern on South African roads. Drunk driving and speeding are among the main causes of road carnage.

Department spokesperson Unathi Binqose says a lot of lives can be saved if drivers adhere to road rules.

“It’s sad that we’ve lost these many people. But at the same time we are grateful that minibus taxi was not fully loaded because we understand that if it was we would have been speaking of even bigger numbers. An accident like this one, a head on collision in fact indicates that there was an element of reckless and negligent driving and irresponsible overtaking. And of cause when it happens about 1 am,  we can never discount the issue of fatigue. So we want to call on our road users to take regular breaks and ensure that they are safe on the roads.”

Eastern Cape Transport MEC, Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe says through the Road Transport Management Corporation, her department has identified crash hotspots in the province. These include the notorious R61 linking the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape.

Tikana-Gxothiwe says they are working with EMS; and now have enough capacity to deal with drunken driving in and around the province.

KwaZulu-Natal taxis ready to transport  

The taxi industry in KwaZulu-Natal says it is ready to transport an increased number of passengers to their respective destinations.

Chairperson of taxi organisation SANTACO in the province, Boy Zondi was at YMCA taxi rank in Durban to check the roadworthiness of taxis. He says they have deployed members throughout the province to make sure that passengers are safe.

“We were speaking to all taxi owners and taxi drivers about the importance of road safety during the festive season. We have deployed Hlokomela champions throughout KZN and five per region to make sure that all vehicles are roadworthy, secondly, they will be speaking to the drivers to make they don’t drink and drive, they don’t speed, they overload and we have been speaking since the majority of the taxis are doing long distances.”

‘Northern Cape motorists warned’

As the festive season draws to its peak, Northern Cape motorists have been warned to be safe and responsible on the roads. The Northern Cape experienced an 80% increase in fatalities during the festive season last year.

According to the Automobile Association at least 135 000 people have been killed over the past 10 years as a result of road accidents.

Limpopo to intensify road safety

The Limpopo Transport Department says it will intensify it road safety campaigns during the festive season.

MEC Dickson Masemola says law enforcement officers will be deployed to all major routes. In 2018, 178 people lost their lives in Limpopo. He has urged motorists and pedestrians to exercise caution.

“Throughout the province today going forward, we are busy with law enforcement through the roads of the province, conducting road blocks, doing stop and search as an extra-ordinary measure to make sure that these festive season we do not leave things unturned. Last year in the province 163 people died by the end of December out of 335 accidents. We do not want to see those numbers going forward because it is about loss of life; it is about accidents. It affects lives of people differently. We believe motorists as well as pedestrians will hear our message and cooperate.”