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By Marizka Coetzer


‘A vicious cycle’: Easter weekend road fatalities are increasing every year

Major causes include reckless driving and using cellphones.

Easter weekend road fatalities are increasing as reports from across the country come in, including a bus accident in Limpopo that claimed more than 45 lives and 20 lives lost in Gauteng.

Gauteng Traffic Police spokesperson Sello Maremane confirmed that 20 people died on Gauteng roads over the weekend.

He said the major causes of road crashes include reckless and negligent driving, speeding, driving while speaking on cellphones, driving in the yellow lane, unsafe overtaking and driving too fast.

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Rising road fatalities

Road fatalities are still climbing as motorists make their way back from their destinations in time for school which starts later this week.

During the Easter weekend last year, 252 fatalities were recorded on roads across the country.

Maremane said high traffic was expected on the N3 from Durban to Johannesburg, the N1 from Polokwane to Pretoria, the N4 from Emalahleni to Pretoria, the N12 from Potchefstroom to Johannesburg and the N1 from Bloemfontein to Johannesburg due to holidaymakers, churchgoers and school children coming back into the province.

The City of Tshwane Emergency Services department so far recorded 13 fatalities, compared to and three in 2023.

Department deputy chief Thabo Charles Mabaso said four male teenagers were declared dead at the scene when a vehicle they were travelling in overturned on Pretorius Street, between Nelson Mandela Drive and Steve Biko Street, in the Pretoria CBD on Sunday.” The owner of the vehicle arrived on the scene around 6am after being notified of the accident by the vehicle tracking company,” he said. 

“In another incident that occurred on the R55 and Lochner Road in Raslouw near Centurion on Friday, three motorists lost their lives while other three patients sustained injuries ranging from critical to severe when two vehicles collided.”

Mabaso said firefighters had to use the jaws of life to free some trapped motorists from one of the vehicles.

“A bakkie overturned on Brits Road near the Straightfontein Butchery north of Pretoria, critically injuring two occupants on Saturday. 

“Emergency medical services found the two motorists trapped inside the wreckage of the bakkie and also had to use the jaws of life to free the critically injured patients,” he said. 

Mabaso said the causes of all the accidents have not yet been determined and will be investigated by law enforcement authorities. 

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‘History repeating itself’

Criminologist Prof Jaco Barkhuizen said each Easter and on other holidays there is crime or road fatalities. 

“It’s a vicious cycle of history repeating itself and South Africans don’t learn from the past,” he said. 

“It’s basic thing to do, to put yourself in others’ shoes. We are all trying to get to our destinations.”

Barkhuizen said the government could not be blamed for how motorists behaved on the roads.

“If you don’t obey the rules of the road, something bad can happen. South Africans need to drive how they want other people to drive around them,” he said.

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Unprecedented bus crash

On Thursday, a bus accident on the Mmamatlakala Bridge, on the R518 road between Marken and Mokopane in the Waterberg district, killed 45 people.

Premier of Limpopo Stanley Mathabatha said the accident cast a shadow of grief over the province this Easter. It is believed the driver lost control and veered off Mmamatlakala Bridge and crashed down the mountain pass.

READ MORE: Tragic bus crash claims 45 lives in Limpopo

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