Motorists heading home after the long weekend have been
urged to exercise caution and patience, following numerous deadly incidents on
South African roads.
It’s been a grim weekend on South Africa’s highways and byways, with motor vehicle accidents claiming the lives of at least 36 people. The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) reported that three major collisions – the worst of which occurred near Maphalle village in Limpopo on Sunday night – dampened the spirit of Youth Day.
Deadly weekend on South Africa’s roads
The RTMC confirmed that it was investigating the fatal
accidents and, in addition, urged road users to drive responsibly to avoid any
further carnage. The organisation said:
“The RTMC is investigating at least three major crashes in which 36 people died over the long weekend.
The worst collision claimed at least 24 fatalities when a minibus and a bus collided on R81 near Maphalle village, Mopani district in Limpopo.
The RTMC and the police will be investigating allegations that the minibus was overloaded with 10 people when the collision happened. This resulted in 24 fatalities from the minibus and three injuries from the bus.”
Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula, added that more than 80
people had been injured as a result of the long weekend’s motorway mayhem. Mbalula
explained that the marked increase in traffic volume was a result of both the
long weekend and the start of the school holidays. The Minister, who has
promised to curb the carnage on South Africa’s roads, pleaded with motorists,
“We don’t want festive occasions to turn into sombre events. Please obey the rules of the road.”
Where to expect traffic delays
Traffic is expected to increase this afternoon as many motorists will be heading back to the industrial hubs following a short holiday.
— Road Traffic Management Corporation (@TrafficRTMC) June 17, 2019
Both the RTMC and provincial traffic structures have warned
of traffic delays on Monday, as motorists make their way home.
Limpopo Department of Transport led MEC, Namane Dickson
Masemola, confirmed that traffic was building up on the N1 northbound. This, Masemola
explained, would result in congestion on the roads and, more so, at toll gates.
As always, a spike in traffic volume is expected on the
embattled N3 highway, between Gauteng and Durban. In recent months, this
stretch of highway has been marred by vicious acts of violence against truck
drivers. As holidaymakers begin their journey back inland, the following toll
plazas are expected to become overburdened and backlogged:
- Mooi Plaza
- Tugela Plaza
- Wilge Plaza
- DeHoek Plaza
Heavy traffic is also expected near Cape Town, with motorists travelling on the N1 – approaching the Huguenot Tunnel Toll Gate – likely to experience congestion and delays.