A multi-vehicle pile-up has brought the N3 northbound near Hilton to a standstill.
Kwanele Ncalane, spokesperson for the KZN Department of Transport, said the preliminary investigations suggest that at least five people have lost their lives and scores sustained injuries during this horrific crash.
Ncalane said this accident involved five trucks, eight minibus taxis and twenty-two light motor vehicles.
The department is cautioning motorists to use alternative routes such as R103 or delay their travel arrangements until the road is cleared.
Ncalane said there was currently thick mist and slight rainfall in the area. He said this has forced authorities to close the southbound between Hilton and Cedara, Johannesburg bound.
Kwanele Ncalane on N3 pile-up crash
N3 North (Durban bound) has also been forced to close due to recoveries and provision of access by emergency services to the accident scene.
Video clips posted on social media show that the conditions are misty in the area.
Authorities from the Department of Transport continue to monitor the traffic flow on the provincial roads and Ncalane confirmed that the number of accidents between Thursday and Monday increased compared to the same period last year.
Twenty-seven people have died on the provincial roads during this period, and the number could increase as travellers are returing to their workplaces and homes.
Earlier on Monday a driver of a Mitsubishi SUV lost control and the vehicle overturned killing three people on the scene. Road and Traffic Inspectorate spokesperson Zihle Mngomezulu said five other people suffered serious injuries and were taken to Dundee Hospital.
“The accident happened on the N11, Sunset Rest near Dundee. The occupants were flung out of the vehicle. A child and two adults died on the scene while five other occupants were rushed to hospital. RTI officers took control of the scene. Three counts of culpable homicide are under investigation,” said Mngomezulu.
She could not give the accident stats saying that it was the Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga’s prerogative to do so and that she was not sure when the minister will release the report.
On Sunday, Chikunga, KwaZulu Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Sipho Hlomuka and other department officials manned a roadblock in Mooi River as part of the high impact Easter holidays operations. The officials monitored traffic enforcement.
According to a preliminary report which has not yet been made public, but which The Witness has seen, the number of accidents has increased by 33 % between the same period in 2022.
Between the same period, Pietermaritzburg has seen a 50% increase in fatalities while Durban has 29% increase in the same period.
A total of 3 254 vehicles were stopped in Pietermaritzburg between Thursday and Monday while 2 963 were stopped in Durban to be checked for roadworthiness and other transgressions.