Eastern Cape Easter road death toll small comfort

Issued by Marshall von Buchenroder, MPL
Shadow MEC for Transport

The relatively low road deaths for the Easter Weekend are small comfort for the families who have lost loved ones on the roads over the long weekend.

At least 20 people have died in road accidents across the province since 1 April 2021. While this is significantly down on the 68 individuals who lost their lives on the road over Easter in 2019, it is significantly higher than the eight individuals who lost their lives last year.

We extend our heartfelt condolences to families who have lost loved ones over this period.

Serious attention needs to be given to tackling the scourge of drunk driving on our roads. At least 137 individuals were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, despite the national ban on alcohol sales over the Easter Weekend.

It must also be noted that school holidays did not coincide with the Easter weekend this year, with schools only closing from 23 April, which also contributed to lower traffic volumes over the weekend.

A number of the fatalities in our province have been attributed to speeding or reckless and negligent driving. There is a sense of lawlessness on our roads. People doing what they want with impunity, as there is nobody to hold them to account.

A capable state would have ensured that the 24-hour law enforcement system, which the MEC has been promising us since 2018 and has still failed to deliver, would have been implemented.

High visibility and tough law enforcement all year-round, not just seasonal plans, can curb the high road death toll in the Eastern Cape.

Traffic officials need to come down hard on unlawful road users whose behaviour puts their own lives and those of others in danger.

The Democratic Alliance is committed to implementing stricter penalties for drivers who disobey the rules of the road and for the policing of vehicles, such as those that transport learners, as well as overloaded trucks, in order to reduce road accidents.