The South African Department of Transport says there has been progress made to reduce the number of fatalities arising from road accidents in the country by half by 2020.

It has set a target to reduce road accident fatalities to below 7000 annually by 2020, says

Department Spokesman Ishmael Mnisi.

We are on track to ensure that we reduce fatalities by 50 per cent before 2020, also to mention that in terms of our statistics, we only had an increment in road fatalities during the holiday period,” he said here Wednesday.

“This year, we have seen a decline during those periods. That tells us our road safety strategy is on course and that we are making everything possible to reach our 50 per cent target for our 2020 United Nations Road Safety Campaign.

During the period between Dec 1, 2015 and Jan 11, 2016, a total of 1,387 people died on South African roads, a decline of 0.6 per cent from the previous season.

Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) Spokesperson Sibusiso Zwane said the high number of fatalities was a cause for concern.

South African roads are not yet safe. You cannot really say that when you have 12,000 people dying on our roads in avoidable circumstances every year,” added Swane.

“They are driving under the influence of liquor, speeding, driving in a reckless and negligent manner, driving unroadworthy vehicles. All of those factors are avoidable.

Mnisi echoed these sentiments. The first concern is the issue that relates to the fraudulent licences that we still have on our roads. Because we continuously arrest people with fraudulent licences and they are the ones who are responsible for accidents we are having,” he said.

A second issue was the attitude of drivers, he added. “We still have people who believe that by acquiring a licence they have a licence to do anything outside the regulations that we have. That creates a situation whereby they disregard that roads are a public space.

KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Limpopo and Eastern Cape continue to be the provinces with the highest number of road deaths. The four provinces regularly register the highest number of crashes, said Mnisi, who added that 50 per cent of ttraffic accidents occurred in those provinces.

Gauteng has the highest number of vehicles while many people travel to KwaZulu-Natal for holidays, even over weekends; and people in Limpopo as well and others travel between Limpopo and Western Cape Province,” said Zwane.

The department is working together with RTMC to educate the public about road safety. We work with the Department of Transport and municipalities and provinces to try and reduce number of crashes that are happening; firstly, by educating motorists, passengers and pedestrians. We also do law enforcement operations in areas that have been identified as hot spots for crashes to try and ensure that people are obeying the rules of the road and that those that are not obeying the rules of the road they are accordingly punished, said Zwane.

Source: Nam News Network