Africa

UPDATE | More than 1 400 people died on South Africa’s roads during the festive season


Minister of Transport Sindisiwe Chikunga said more than 1 400 people died during the 2023/24 festive season.


Minister of Transport Sindisiwe Chikunga said more than 1 400 people died during the 2023/24 festive season.

  • More than 1 400 people died in more than 1 100 accidents on South African roads during the festive season.
  • Most of the 1 427 who died lost their lives during the first, third and fourth weeks of December.
  • Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga said this represented a 1.7% reduction from the 1 452 fatalities recorded during the previous festive season.

More than 1 400 people died on South Africa’s roads during the festive season. 

Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga revealed this at the release of the 2023/24 festive season road traffic statistics at the N1 Grasmere Toll Gate on Wednesday.

At the beginning of the briefing on Wednesday, Chikunga announced that more than 1 100 people had been killed over the festive season. However, she later explained that there had been 1 100 fatal accidents in which 1 427 people had died. 

Most fatalities were recorded during the first, third and fourth weeks of December, Chikunga said. 

“The first week incorporated the payday weekend when people had received bonuses and were having end-of-year parties.”

She added that the third week incorporated the long weekend, industry closures, and people starting to travel.

Chikunga said the fourth week incorporated the Christmas long weekend, which saw a massive increase in traffic volumes and festivities.

“Most fatalities were recorded on Sundays, which is a new trend,” she said.

She added that most crashes occurred between 19:00 and 22:00, peaking between 20:00 and 21:00.

While 1 427 people died on the roads, Chikunga said this was a 1.7% reduction compared to the 1 452 fatalities recorded during the previous festive season.

Five provinces – the Free State, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Limpopo and North West – had fewer fatalities, while others recorded increases.

“It is worth noting that the Eastern Cape is the only province that managed to surpass the target set for it to reduce fatalities by at least 18.6%,” Chikunga said.

She said the highest speed was recorded on the N1 in Limpopo, where a driver was stopped and arrested for travelling at 225km/h.

The minister said the drunkest driver was arrested on the R409 in Butterworth in the Eastern Cape with an alcohol level of 2.48mg/1 000ml.

“This far exceeded the legal limit of 0.24mg alcohol per 1 000 ml of breath,” she added.  

Chikunga said human factors contributed to 80.8% of the crashes. Environmental factors like heavy rainfall and storms contributed to 10,4%, while vehicle factors contributed 8.8%. 

According to Chikunga, 40.9% of those who died were pedestrians, while passengers accounted for 33.6%, drivers 24.6%, and cyclists 0.8%.

“It will be noted very sadly that the majority of those who died were between the ages of 25 and 44.”




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