A total of 1 685 fatalities were recorded over the 2021 festive season period, statistics released by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula reveal.

The figure was a 14% increase from the previous period.

Releasing the statistics on Tuesday, the Minister said the Eastern Cape recorded the largest decline in road accident deaths.

Between 1 December and 11 January, Mbalula said the province recorded a reduction of 7.9% or 210 fatalities compared to the same period last year, when 228 fatalities were recorded.

He said: “We want to congratulate and commend the Eastern Cape leadership for their sterling work as they marshalled their troops towards the attainment of this significant reduction”.

Hot on its heels was KwaZulu-Natal, with a significant 6.5% fatality decline. The province recorded 275 fatalities as compared to 294 in the same period last year.

The Minister said it was disturbing to note that the Northern Cape had recorded the highest increase. The province’s road crash death recorded a 97% increase from the corresponding period. While the province recorded 33 deaths in the 2020 festive season, 65 fatalities were recorded in the 2021 festive season.

The Western Cape equally recorded a massive 55.6% increase in the percentage of fatalities moving from 133 fatalities the previous period to 207 in this period.

The Minister said: “We need to get to the root cause of this drastic increase and address it in a decisive manner”.

North-West recorded a 25.3% increase moving from 95 fatalities in the previous period to 119 in this period.

Mpumalanga recorded an increase of 24.3% moving from 152 fatalities in the previous period to 189 in this period.

Limpopo recorded a 16.5% increase moving from 194 deaths in the previous period to 226 in the 2021 period.

Gauteng recorded a 15.5% increase, moving from 238 fatalities in the previous period to 275 between December 2021 and January 2022 period.

Free State recorded the lowest increase of 7.2%, recording eight more deaths from the previous 119.

The Minister said it was “alarming” that there had been more fatalities per crash in the 2021 festive season in comparison to previous periods.

“This resulted in high passenger fatalities this year compared to the previous period. Passenger fatalities constituted 38% in the current period compared to the previous 32%.

“Pedestrian fatalities significantly decreased from 41% previously to 31% in the current reporting period,” he said.

In the 2021 festive season period, driver fatalities increased by 1% from the previous year’s 27%.

“The figures indicate that many vehicles involved in fatal crashes had a high number of occupants and most crashes occurred between 5pm and 7pm, particularly on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

The statistics reveal that light motor cars contributed 49% to the total crashes followed by light delivery vehicles at 17%. Minibus vehicles contributed 8% and trucks accounted for 6%.

Mbalula in the press briefing urged the taxi and freight industries to “do more to reduce the number of crashes caused by their vehicles as they contributed higher fatalities per crash compared to other vehicles”.

Source: South African Government News Agency