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A South African highway scene during the festive season, featuring a wrecked car and emergency services at the site of a road accident. The setting is

Another year of alarming festive season road death fatalities in South Africa

The grim festive season road fatality statistics are a national disaster, and a sad indictment of the total disregard road users have for their own and other peoples’ lives on our country’s roads.

More than 700 people were killed in road accidents throughout the country since the start of the festive season in December 2023, further proving that our country desperately requires urgent interventions to ensure better road safety.

At a media briefing in late December 2023, Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga released provisional festive season road statistics and gave a mid-term update on her department’s road safety awareness campaign.

According to the minister, Gauteng, KwaZulu- Natal, Limpopo, the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape accounted for 80% of fatalities. Whilst the government and more specifically the National Department of Transport have recently made commitments to roll out road safety programmes, the continuous carnage on our roads clearly indicates that these programmes must be implemented immediately.

According to Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga, crashes have decreased by 0.8% compared with the same period last year, leading to a 4.3% decline in fatalities.

Even though there is a slight decrease in the stats we believe that the loss of lives is unacceptable and can only be explained by a lack of proper road safety interventions and implementation by the government and the various agencies responsible for road safety.

While the VTA welcomes the initiatives from the Minister of Transport we still firmly believe that the best way to enhance the planned safety initiatives and decrease road fatalities would be for the minister to urgently set a date for the implementation of periodic testing of vehicles which has been on the cards for several years now. There are several examples in the world where the implementation of vehicle inspection controls has not only made a positive impact on road safety and reduced road fatalities but also positively changed the culture of road safety by impacting driver consciousness and conscientiousness.

The RMI will be continuing their efforts this year by engaging with the government in addressing the urgent issue of more frequent vehicle testing.