Western Cape launches Festive Season Safety Plan

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Western Cape transport authorities have warned motorists that drunk driving will not be tolerated on the province’s roads this festive season.

Provincial Transport Minister, Bonginkosi Madikizela, says there has already been a concerning increase in drunk driving cases over the last month. He was speaking during the launch of the Festive Season Safety Plan at the Hugenot Tunnel on the N1, outside Paarl, on Thursday.

The Western Cape is a popular holiday destination and is expected to once again draw thousands of tourists, despite a rise in COVID-19 infections. The province has recorded over 130 000 cases so far.

This year, motorists are not only urged to adhere to the rules of the road, but also to observe safety protocols to curb the spread of the virus.

Minister Madikizela says even though the province recorded a 23% decline in road deaths during the previous festive season, the number of people dying on the province’s roads is still a cause for concern.

W Cape government urges people going for holidays to adhere to safety measures:

“From the 27th of March till the 1st of December, we’ve seen the cases of people driving under the influence (increase) to 318 which is a very low number, if you look at what usually happens. But what is very disturbing is that from 12 November to 1 December, 103 of those cases happened during the period.”

Madikizela says while the province needs the tourism revenue to revive the economy battered by the pandemic, everyone must take the necessary precautions to be safe.

“The Western Cape is a tourist destination and we are famous for our wine estates. We want people to enjoy the wines in our province to kickstart our economy, but please, let’s do it responsibly. Once you do that, don’t get behind the wheel.”

Motorists agree that it’s every road user’s responsibility to minimise road deaths.

“Never drink and drive. That’s the main thing. If you love your family and you want to get to your family, you don’t drink and drive. COVID-19 guys. Take it easy. That’s the main thing. Don’t overdo it. Just be respectful of all the drivers and all the passengers. Just do what the law says (you should) do. Don’t drink and drive, that’s it.”

Compulsory fatigue management checkpoints and roadblocks along the province’s highways are part of its Festive Season Safety Plan.